A chimney fire can start out of nowhere and is normally caused from debris blocking the chimney or too much buildup of creosote. While some chimney fires go undetected for some time, others can be so significant that the damage is evident immediately.

Here are three indicators that you may have a chimney fire:

  • A loud cracking or popping noise inside your chimney
  • Lots of dense smoke
  • A hot smell that is very intense

Chimneys made of different materials will react differently to a chimney fire. Here are the different types of chimneys and what happens when there is a fire:

Masonry Chimneys

A fire in this type of chimney will melt mortar, cause a liner to collapse, crack tiles, and damage a lot of the outside masonry materials. When all these materials are damaged, the flames can then reach the wooden frame of the home, starting a larger house fire.

Metal Chimneys

These types of chimneys can withstand hotter temperatures than other chimneys. While these chimneys might not show significant damage, they should still be replaced after a chimney fire occurs.

Wood Stoves

When there is a chimney fire from using a wood stove, the stove may not be damaged, but the pipes will. The connector pipes will warp, buckle, and can even separate if the chimney fire is strong enough.

Most of the time, you will know that you had a chimney fire. However, there are times when it will not be as evident. Thankfully, a chimney sweep knows to look for certain things during their inspection and can tell if there was a chimney fire at some point in time.

Here are a few things that professional chimney sweeps look for that may indicate a chimney fire:

  • Creosote that is puffy or honeycomb in shape
  • Flue tiles that are cracked or collapsed or tiles that are missing completely
  • A chimney cap that is distorted or discolored
  • Warped metal
  • A TV antenna attached to a chimney that has heat damage
  • Flakes of creosote on the roof or the ground
  • Roof is damaged from hot creosote
  • Exterior masonry is cracked
  • Smoke is escaping through the mortar joints

Chimney fires are quite serious and you should make sure that your chimney is maintained regularly to prevent them. We recommend having your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year so that damage can be spotted immediately. However, even if you have had your chimney cleaned and inspected, it doesn’t mean that a chimney fire will not occur. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your chimney, you need to call us at 610-626-2439 immediately. We can help decide if you have an issue that needs immediate attention and what else needs to be done to keep your family and your home safe.