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Reduce Fire Hazards for Your Chimney in the Bow Valley and Surrounding Area


The most important part is to have proper knowledge of your wood burning system.

  • If you are unaware of the condition of your wood burning system (fireplace, wood stove, etc.) and its venting components (chimney, cap, etc.), please have it inspected by a W.E.T.T. Certified inspector before you attempt to light a fire. Introducing flames to a neglected system may start a chimney fire.
  • Knowledge of your system's previous maintenance is vital. If you are uncertain, an inspection is strongly recommended to assess its condition.
  • A neglected system may have unsafe amounts of creosote accumulations. Removal of creosote is necessary when deposits reach 3mm, as they produce glazing if left untreated for an extended period of time. Glazed deposits are incredibly difficult to remove and are highly flammable. Glazing is the main cause of chimney fires.
  • Another cause of concern is pyrolysis. Pyrolysis occurs when there is a thermochemical decomposition of a combustible material. Studies have shown that it is possible for an external heat source as low as 77 F (25°C) to deteriorate a combustible surface to the point of internal combustion.
  • If your wood burning system was improperly installed, it is possible that it does not meet its manufacturers’ clearance requirements.
  • Another concern is the attic, where critters may be stockpiling pine cones and other combustible materials near the chimney. This would require a detailed W.E.T.T. Inspection to limit potential fire hazards.


If you have an esthetic system (open concept, no sealed glass door), please only use it occasionally, as they tend to deprive your home of warmth by venting the majority of the heat up the chimney. In other words, they are a waste of resources and pollute the air without providing adequate heat. Seriously consider replacing any esthetic wood burning system by investing in a modern, high-efficiency wood burning system. A high-efficiency wood stove or fireplace can effectively reduce your wood consumption and lower smoke emissions. It will also reduce your heating costs.

  • Burn clean, burn smart
  • Burn only well-seasoned firewood that is sustainably sourced and that has been split into smaller pieces (2"-4" in diameter) to assure a complete combustion.
  • The principal factors in creosote accumulations to avoid are:
    1. Burning "green" wood
    2. Burning poplar
    3. Using treated/painted wood as kindling
    4. Using laminated paper to start fires
    5. Smouldering fires/burning oversized logs
  • Ensure your chimneys' creosote deposits are swept when necessary, as a clean chimney will vent more adequately than a dirty one.
  • The longer creosote remains in your chimney the harder/costlier it will be to sweep.
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