Everyone knows that warmer weather means a need for extra caution with outdoor fires, but very few consider what it means for indoor fire safety. The days may be gloriously warm, but spring nights remain chilly in much of the country and fireplaces are still in use. With warmer temperatures above them, chimneys can end up drawing air into the house instead of expelling it as it should.
Warmer Temperatures Can Produce Downdrafts in Chimneys
That, by itself, presents a dangerous situation, offering potential for carbon monoxide poisoning if no sensor alarms are in place. It also means that heated air from the fireplace is staying in the chimney rather than passing through it. Creosotes love that, taking full advantage of the improved opportunity to accumulate on the walls of your chimney. It also increases the chances of a chimney fire, which is definitely nothing to play with.
Hot for longer, extremely flammable soot and later stage creosotes are able both to develop faster and ignite more easily in warmer weather. Warm weather fireplace use is accordingly more dangerous, and the same extra caution we exercise outdoors needs to be brought indoors as well. Luckily, that problematic downdraft will also produce that unmistakable smell of soot wafting out of the fireplace.
Not at all that it is a pleasant smell, but it alerts homeowners to the problem and usually causes them to open their windows. That could be life-saving in an air-tight new home if toxic gases are being back-drafted into the house. Even in non-threatening circumstances, it is a recognizable signal of the need for extra care now and a chimney sweep soon.
Fire Is Fire, Indoors And Out
With warmer weather, everything begins to dry, providing better and better fuel for wandering flames or flying sparks. Care needs to be exercised everywhere, with air that is often much drier and the papery leaves of last fall still strewn about the yard. Do not forget to bring that responsible caution indoors, and keep your family safe along with the neighborhood.