How Can I Prevent a Chimney Fire?

In the U.S., chimney fires account for over $120 million in property damage annually.  Over 25,000 chimney fires occur each year, causing major damage to the structure of the home and resulting in serious injuries or even death.

Damaged chimney liners or a damaged chimney structure can create major problems for a home. This is because they allow high heat, sparks, and embers to enter into combustible areas of the walls, roof, or attic. One of the most common causes of chimney fires is creosote buildup on chimney walls.  

Creosote is a by-product of burning wood. Homeowners are encouraged to have their chimneys cleaned annually to remove this potentially hazardous buildup. If you are a homeowner in Central Indiana, Chimney & Masonry Outfitters can perform a professional inspection and chimney sweep to ensure your system is clean and functioning at optimal levels.

Avoiding Unwanted Blazes

If you are hearing raging noises coming from your chimney walls while burning a fire, this means that you have a powerful and potentially dangerous fire on your hands. Your fire should only produce soft, crackling noises from your wood burning system.  

If your fire is not producing pleasant sounds, you need to investigate the cause immediately. However, it is important to note that chimney fires cannot always be easily detected.

How to Identify a Chimney Fire

Generally, there are two types of chimney fires, and they are simple to tell apart. Both have the potential to cause significant damage to your chimney structure and home. 

  • Free Burning – Free burning fires create that loud, roaring noise in your chimney, which we mentioned earlier. The sound of this blaze is unmistakable. It is common for the flames and billowing smoke associated with these types of fires to shoot out from your chimney top. The distinct noises of this particular fire may be noticed by your neighbors.
  • Slow Burning – While slow burning fires may be the much quieter version of the notorious chimney fire, they are equally as dangerous. In fact, these fires may be more cause for concern since they can easily go undetected. The fires burn at a slower rate, but at high temperatures that can cause structural damage to your chimney, and cause other parts of your home to catch on fire as well. 

Tips for Preventing a Chimney Fire

  • Never burn seasoned wood in your fireplace. Instead, start your fire with newspaper or dry kindling. Gasoline and kerosene should also be avoided. 
  • Do not burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or Christmas trees.
  • Always choose to burn large logs over smaller logs when possible.    
  • Be sure to schedule your annual chimney inspections and cleanings to remove excess creosote from your chimney walls.  This will help ensure safe burning, and protect your home and family from a potentially devastating chimney fire. 

The experts at Chimney & Masonry Outfitters will perform a thorough inspection of your chimney system, and provide professional recommendations to help ensure the health of your system for years to come. 

Contact our technicians today for an inspection, so that you can enjoy your home without worrying about chimney fires.