Chimney Tips & Info

Chimney fires don’t have to happen — keep the fire you want from starting one you don’t want.

Here are some ways to avoid chimney fires:

What does creosote look like?

All that black creosote is highly flammable.
Always get a chimney inspection in addition to a home inspection before purchasing a new home. Chimneys are not the home inspector's area of expertise.
Debris from broken flue tiles fallen down into the chimney.
The cracked fireplace flue tiles are due to sudden thermal shock from the intense heat of a chimney fire.
It's important to maintain all flues to prevent creosote build up and fires.

How do I know there is a chimney fire occurring?

You may notice a roaring noise that sounds unusual or have very black smoke or flames exiting the chimney. A wood stove smoke pipe can glow bright red during a chimney fire. If you can see a problem or have a feeling that something is not right, call the fire department to check it out.

Why is a chimney fire dangerous?

Many people are misinformed that a chimney fire is no big deal and can actually clean out the flue in a chimney. This could not be further from the truth. Chimney fires occur inside a flue when the built up creosote deposits get hot enough to ignite. Creosote is highly flammable in all its stages and burns very hot. A chimney fire can spread to the structure of the home and catch it on fire as well. Chimney fires commonly damage the integrity of the flue so that the gases released while burning do not exit completely and carbon monoxide is released into the house.

What to do if you have a chimney fire

If you realize a chimney fire is occurring, follow these steps:

For more chimney safety tips, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website at www.csia.org

Chimney Caps

Customers often ask why we always recommend a chimney cap. Chimney caps are the single best way to extend the life of a chimney because they are the first method of keeping water out of the flues. Water entering the chimney will find its way down through the easiest path, frequently causing structural damage to the chimney along the way. Eventually the water will find its way into the house and become evident by puddles in the firebox, stained walls and ceilings, or problems with dampness and mold.

Chimney caps are also necessary to keep raccoons, squirrels, bats, and birds out of the chimney and the house. Both bats and raccoons can carry rabies, and raccoons also carry a type of roundworm that is transmissible and extremely dangerous to humans. Squirrel and bird nests can plug the flues causing smoke to back up and also lead to chimney fires. Raccoons and squirrels can destroy the inside of a house in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Clean up after an animal infestation is quite costly and requires the sweeping and disinfecting of the chimney and then possible cleaning of the house. Installation of a chimney cap can save a homeowner many hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands of dollars.

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