Chimney Fire Safety

Myth #1: Chimney fires don’t hurt my chimney, it just saves me having to sweep it this year!
Chimney fires burn up to 2000 degrees, which is much hotter than chimneys are built to handle. The rapid rise in temperature can crack liners and damage the outer masonry. Your first chimney fire might not do any noticeable damage, while your second might burn your house to the ground.

Myth #2: If it’s clean, it’s safe, right?
Simply looking up the chimney and seeing light isn’t enough. There may be damage to your chimney that you don’t know about because it is out of sight. Cracked liner inside your chimney can allow heat to penetrate into your home. If there are combustible materials (wood framing, etc) too close to the chimney, they can spontaneously combust and set fire to the home.

What causes a chimney fire? When wood is burned, by-products of combustion condense inside the flue, leaving a flammable deposit – this is creosote. When creosote ignites, that is a chimney fire. Creosote is highly combustible, so it doesn’t have to be a large build-up to cause a fire. An 1/8 inch is enough!

What to do in case of a chimney fire:
– Get everyone out of the house
– Call your local emergency dispatch center at 911
– After it’s over, call a professional chimney cleaning service to inspect and clean the system.

Preventing a chimney fire:
– Burn dry, seasoned wood
– Operate your stove or furnace in the correct temperature range
– Never burn trash or cardboard boxes
– Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency wood stove or fireplace
– Have it swept and inspected yearly by a professional