When you think of your fireplace, you probably come up with images of a cozy evening spent wrapped in a blanket on the couch. Or perhaps you think of family gatherings in front of the fire to play games. or roast hot dogs and s’mores, bringing the taste of summer into your home on a cold, snowy night.  Whatever image comes to mind, it isn’t one of a fire burning out of control. Unfortunately, if you don’t take proper care of your chimney, this image might become a reality.

Causes of Chimney Fires

The most common cause of a chimney fire, and one that is easily preventable, is creosote build-up. If you have been burning fires in your fireplace, it’s a sure bet that you have a creosote build-up. According to Inspectopedia, creosote is an oily black substance that condenses onto the walls of your chimney while you have a fire burning. It can also be brown and hard. No matter what it looks like, if you use your fireplace, you have creosote. Creosote is extremely flammable, and so when you burn a fire in your fireplace and sparks fly up the chimney. It’s pretty easy for these patches of creosote to catch on fire. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of creosote build-up is to have it removed. Preferably by a CSIA certified chimney sweep.

Consequences of a Chimney Fire

A chimney fire brings to mind the most devastating pictures:  your home leveled, digging through the ashes to find any remaining precious personal items, or, at the very worst, loss of life. Unfortunately, these devastating events can take place. One interesting fact about chimney fires, is that people aren’t aware that a chimney fire has taken place.  According to the CSIA website, “(S)low-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have fuel to be dramatic or visible and they often go undetected until a later chimney inspection”.  This may seem like a good thing. However, these fires still reach high temperatures. Your chimney can sustain structural damage that will continue to put your home at risk until you have it fixed.

Prevention is Key

Prevent chimney fires by hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep like the expert professionals at Chimney Sweep Plus.  They know the tell-tale signs of chimney fires. Signs like cracks in the exterior of your chimney’s masonry or a rain cap that appears distorted or discolored. Another sign is when a damper is warped from exposure to heat.  If you have sustained a chimney fire, they will be able to assess the damage. They will make sure your chimney is repaired quickly and correctly.

Schedule your appointment early in the season so that all repairs are completed before the fall and winter months!