Having a fireplace in your home is extremely common in the Midwest. It brings people together with thoughts of a simpler time along with adding architectural interest to your home. Chimney fires happen because they are either not working correctly or not cleaned. When relaxing in front of your fireplace helps be able to get away from life which means the last thing you are thinking of is if the flue is actually working. A chimneys real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home. Blue River Restoration is here to make sure if something does happen to your chimney that damages your home, your home gets back to normal.
The first question that needs to be asked is what causes fires to start in the first place. Once you know what can cause a fire in a chimney, you will know what to look for and what to clean to make sure that those variables are taken care of. Majority of the time, creosote build-up is the main cause of chimney fires. Creosote comes from particles that were not fully burned during the fire and when the temperatures in the chimney lowered, they attached to the chimney walls forming the creosote. This dark sticky and sometimes flaky material can easily catch on fire, and thus is the root cause of the chimney fires.
Some chimney fires burn with enough noise and drama to startle homeowners and alert neighbors or passersby. However, most chimney fires have limited air and fuel, causing them to burn slowly. This means they often remain undetected until the next chimney inspection—or until they burn through the chimney and damage your home.
Signs of a chimney fire include:
Loud popping or cracking noises
Rumbling that sounds like a freight train or low-flying airplane
Dense smoke or flames shooting out of the chimney
Intense heat coming from the fireplace
Since creosote buildup is the primary cause of chimney fires, your goal is to keep this residue to a minimum. Here’s how:
Open the damper wide enough to allow ample airflow while a fire is burning.
Only use seasoned wood in your fireplace. This is dried and free of moisture that could lead to increased condensation in the chimney.
Avoid overloading your wood stove’s firebox.
Have your chimney cleaned during fall every year to remove the creosote buildup from the previous year.