The Dangerous Beauty of a Chimney

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Chimney CapNearly every home in Pennsylvania has at least one chimney. They add a graceful, sophisticated appeal to the appearance of a home. The chimney, whether attached to a fireplace or a wood stove, is where the dangerous smoke and gasses escape while you’re enjoying the softly crackling warmth and romantic glow of a fire. It is also a lovely fire hazard if not properly maintained.

Why Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned? I thought they were maintenance-free.

This is one of the biggest questions people ask. They often make statements like, “Out of sight, out of mind,” in reference to the dirty buildup in their chimney. Just because the buildup isn’t always visible doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

Think about a candle or an oil lamp for a moment. They obviously put off heat when lit, but consider that black residue that collects around the top of the glass where the smoke escapes. That process is the same process in which smoke, soot, and creosote stick to the inner walls of your flue. Now think about the amount of smoke that goes up your chimney every time you build a fire; that puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

Indications of a chimney fire may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Loud popping and cracking noises as the chimney overheats and creosote is burned. Very high temperatures cause serious, permanent damage to the flue inside your chimney, and may cause structural damage to the chimney itself.An overabundance of dense smoke coming from the chimney. This smoke may roll out of the top of the chimney or into your home, depending on whether there is adequate room and ventilation.
  • An intense hot smell, such as the smell of metal overheating.
  • A loud rumble that sounds like a train or a low-flying airplane.

Please keep these indications in mind every time you use your chimney. No one welcomes a house fire. Share this information with friends who have a chimney and enjoy the occasional relaxing evening by the fireplace. Don’t take a chance on turning a relaxing evening into one of horror or tragedy.

One last thing to keep in mind – a clean chimney doesn’t burn. Find a certified, licensed and insured chimney sweep with a record of happy clients.

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