According to chimney masonry repair pros, your chimney and its flue don’t just add further architectural interest to your home. In fact, they’re also meant to safely carry your fireplace’s dangerous flue gases away from your property, allowing you to use your fireplace to warm up your home on a cold winter night safely. Unfortunately, however, if you’ve been using your fireplace and chimney for a while now without cleaning them, you may find this enjoyment short-lived due to chimney fires.
When looking for the cause of chimney fires, experts say that there is only one reason why they happen, and that’s because of dirty chimneys. This is because, if your chimneys aren’t cleaned by a chimney sweep routinely, creosote, a tar-like substance made of smoke, water vapor, wood particles, gases and other minerals, can build up on the chimney. And, since creosote is highly combustible, if left to build up in sufficient quantities, it can result in chimney fire if the internal flue temperature is high enough.
Depending on what kind of chimney you have, the effects of a chimney fire could vary. For instance, if you have a masonry chimney, a chimney fire can melt mortar, crack tiles and cause the liners of your chimney to collapse. Once this happens, it could provide a new pathway for the flames to reach the combustible parts of your home, which in turn can result in a house fire. If you have a wood stove, on the other hand, a chimney fire can cause it to warp, buckle or even separate, thanks to the vibrations created by the fire’s air turbulence, requiring a replacement in the long run.
What to Do in the Event of a Chimney Fire
If a chimney fire occurs in your home, there are a few things that homeowners such as yourself can do. First of all, if there are other people in your home like family and friends, evacuate them from your home immediately, and call the fire department. Afterwards, if it’s safe to do so, try cutting off the air supply leading to the chimney by closing the damper or any other pipes. By doing so, you’ll be able to smother the fire. Then, close your glass doors and fire grates as extra precaution before leaving the house. Finally, if you have a garden hose, try spraying water on the roof to prevent it from catching fire.
Once the fire has been completely put out, experts recommend that you monitor the wall temperature of your home for the next few hours to ensure that no other part of the house catches fire. Afterwards, call a chimney professional immediately to take the necessary steps in ensuring that a chimney fire never happens again.
Need someone who can help you maintain your chimney? Don’t hesitate to turn to the experts of Chimney Doctors. Give us a call at (518) 882-5009, or fill out our contact form to get in touch with us and schedule an appointment. We serve homeowners in Clifton Park, NY, and other nearby areas.