One of the scariest things to know about chimney fires is that they can sometimes go unnoticed. Unfortunately, these are among the most common reasons for house fires, so it is important to understand how to prevent this from happening. You cannot eliminate the risk completely, but you should all the necessary steps to protect your home and family.
You should know how to tell when your chimney is on fire. When this happens, the fire is usually small, but it can be enough to spread as creosote is highly flammable. The signs of a fire inside the chimney are:
- Flames coming out of the top of the chimney
- Thick smoke when you use your fireplace
- Popping and cracking noises coming from inside the chimney
- A roaring noise coming from inside the chimney, similar to the noise made by a train
Since a fire in the chimney poses an immediate risk to the home, you should take no chances. Call the fire department right away. The fire might be out by the time they get there, but better safe than sorry.
Ways to Prevent a Fire
It does not always have to get to the point of trying to extinguish a fire inside the chimney. With the right measures you can significantly minimize the chances of one occurring.
- Get your annual chimney cleaning and inspection done early so you know that the chimney is ready and safe to use in the winter. Do not leave this task to an uncertified individual. A professional will be able to do the job effectively.
- After you use the fireplace clean out the ashes, but make sure they have cooled. If you leave the ashes in the fireplace, the next fire you light will burn too hot and increase the chances of a fire in the chimney.
- Never put garbage in the fireplace as this can release gases and chemical into the chimney. These may be enough to start a fire inside the structure.
- Use only wood that has been properly dried inside the fireplace. Unseasoned wood speeds up the creation of creosote, which can then start to burn.
- Use a smoke alarm near the fireplace to help warn you if a fire starts.
You can ask your chimney sweep for advice on the right type of wood, and other tips on using your fireplace and chimney is a safe manner. With proper maintenance, a fire may never become an issue.
Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill
We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.