Have you ever had a chimney fire? Are you sure? We’ve been to customers homes that had no clue that they had had a fire until we took them in the attic to see the charred wood, or showed them pictures of their burnt chimney cap and lava like creosote that had spit all over the roof.
Chimney fires can be explosive and easily detected by your neighbors because of the flames and smoke shooting out of the top of your chimney. They can also be very quiet and slow burning, depending on location and if they are not being ‘fed’ by a lot of air. Either way, a chimney fire can reach very high temperatures and cause drastic results.
Your chimney has a job and its job is to take the byproducts of your fire (smoke, gases and minerals) and quickly and efficiently remove them from your home. The slower that process happens, the more condensation occurs and a highly combustible residue called creosote is made. When creosote builds up in your flue and the flue gets hot enough, a chimney fire can happen.
Chimney fires can’t ever be fully prevented but there are ways to avoid them and give yourself and your family peace of mind:
- Hot fires burn more completely and produce less smoke and creosote.
- With a wood stove, don’t overload the firebox. Overloaded woodstoves also contribute to excess creosote.
- Burn only well seasoned wood. You can ‘soot up’ a flue easily by burning just one fire of green wood.
- Make sure your damper is fully open to assure the smoke moves rapidly up your chimney.
- If you have a stove, install a stovepipe thermometer. It will help in monitoring temperatures in the flue when the stove is in use and you can easily adjust your burning to accommodate your needs.
- Make sure to have your chimney inspected annually by a CSIA Certified Technician and swept as needed.
We want to keep your fire in its place! Schedule your annual chimney inspection and have your cleanings and repairs done as needed. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have. Even if you have never had a fireplace before and you want to learn about how your chimney works and how to build a proper fire, we are always here to help.