Homeowners should always be concerned about the possibility of chimney fires, but this risk is greatly reduced with proper care. The main cause of these fires is failure to maintain and clean the chimney properly. Poor component installation can occasionally pose a fire hazard as well. Regular checks by a chimney sweep can put your mind at rest. A professional will remove creosote buildup that threatens the structure and point out any flaws in the installation.
Signs of a Chimney Fire
One truth about owning a chimney is that small fires can occur without you even realizing it. Some signs that this has happened are:
- Colored streaks in puffy looking creosote
- Damaged flue tiles
- Warped damper or damage to the pipe connected to it
- Discoloration of the chimney cap
A fire that could threaten your home will not necessarily go unnoticed. Some of the signs that this is happening are:
- There may be a roaring sound coming from the chimney flue
- You may hear a spattering noise as creosote falls loose and falls down into the chimney
- Heavy black smoke will be coming from the chimney
- Sparks may be coming from the top of the chimney
Responding to a Chimney Fire
A chimney fire can spread quickly, especially if it has a lot of creosote to feed off. Here’s what you should do if one starts:
- Call the fire department
- Make sure everyone leaves the house
- Spray the fire extinguisher upwards through the fireplace.
- Use your garden hose to wet your roof to prevent sparks from setting it alight
You should only use the extinguisher and garden hose as long as it is safe to do so. Of course, as soon as the firemen arrive, you should get out of the way and allow them to do their job. Even when they get the fire under control don’t go back into the house until they tell you to. Be prepared for an extensive cleanup, not only because of fire damage but also from the water.
Chimney repair will be on your to-do list as well. Consult a chimney professional to get an assessment and an estimate. If a poor installation caused the fire, you need to have a professional n your side to ensure that this does not happen again. Give us a call here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 and we’ll schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA Certified chimney sweeps to ensure that your chimney is clean and in proper working order.