Chimney and Hearth Horror Stories and How to Avoid Becoming One

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We’ve seen some pretty scary things while dealing with the hearth and chimney. Most homeowners aren’t aware of the actual amount of potential danger surrounding the fireplace. A fire can begin at nearly any time and for a variety of reasons. Today we’re going to talk about some very dangerous things that you’ve probably not really concerned regarding your fireplace.

Clearance to Combustibles

Your fireplace or wood burning stove came with a clear set of instructions, and building codes require a specific number of inches of clearance from all combustibles. This is one of the primary things that people tend to overlook and the cause of many house fires.

Wood burns at roughly 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. This doesn’t seem so alarming until you consider that the surface of a wood burning stove can easily reach 300 degrees. Nearby wood begins to release combustible gases at 300 degrees, and they will ignite when they come into contact with an open flame. This open flame can be something you’re holding to start a fire with or the flames inside the wood stove.

The sheer amount of heat escaping up the chimney is enough to start a fire with combustible materials that are closer than the recommended distance. These recommended distances are in place for your own safety, not just because some piece of paper says so.

Creosote Buildup

Creosote buildup is often ignored until homeowners begin to see pieces chip off and fall into the fireplace. This is an extremely dangerous habit to fall into. Creosote is very flammable and is the leading cause of chimney fires. Homeowners also tend to underestimate the dangers of a chimney fire. They believe that as long as the fire is contained, it’s okay. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A chimney fire burns very hot and can catch other structural parts of the home on fire as well. The chimney may be made of stone or brick, but they actually help transfer the heat from a chimney fire to the structural members that support your roof. A chimney fire can cause the destruction of your entire home.

DIY Installation

Many of today’s homeowners read blogs, DIY websites, and watch YouTube videos to install their fireplace, wood burning stove, and chimney on their own time. This is fine as long as all precautions are observed, building codes followed, and inspections performed as intended. Unfortunately, many DIY homeowners fail to follow all of the rules and end up with a very dangerous situation on their hands.

Not Consulting a Chimney Professional

Not many of us would consider working on our plumbing or building a new home without assistance from a professional. Too many things can go wrong and it isn’t worth the risk. The installation of a fireplace, wood stove, chimney, or relining a flue should be looked at in the same light. One wrong move and your home and all of its occupants may be put in harm’s way. Lou Curley Chimney Service is located in Drexel Hill and we provide all types of chimney services throughout the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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