While it may be hard to believe, you can actually experience a chimney fire without even realizing it at the time. Of course, some chimney fires are very dramatic with flames shooting from the top of the chimney and loud roaring noises that sound similar to a train. However, a slow-burning chimney fire never gets enough air or fuel to be noticeable. This type of fire can still do a lot of damage to your chimney and home because they reach extremely high temperatures. Any nearby combustible materials are in danger of being ignited by this high heat. Often, you will see damage before you even know you had a chimney fire. So, how do you know whether or not you have had a chimney fire? Ashbusters would like to answer this question by sharing with you some information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) about what causes chimney fires and what signs you should be looking for if you suspect something is wrong with your chimney.
What is the major cause of chimney fires?
As the CSIA says, dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, and the main reason for this has to do with creosote. A natural compound that is formed during the combustion process of burning wood, creosote can vary in color and appearance. It can be black or brown, hard and shiny, sticky and gummy, or flaky and brittle. No matter what creosote looks like, it is always highly flammable. If you neglect to have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year, creosote can accumulate into large deposits inside your chimney. These creosote deposits can block the opening of your chimney and can even ignite a fire if the temperature within your chimney reaches a high enough point. This is why the CSIA and other major national fire safety organizations recommend having a chimney professionally cleaned once a year. When Ashbusters sweeps your chimney, we guarantee to remove all of the accumulated creosote from your chimney to prevent a devastating chimney fire.
What are the signs that I have had a chimney fire?
When investigating whether or not a chimney fire has occurred, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps look for the following signs:
- cracked flue tiles or tiles with missing pieces
- creosote that looks puffy or like a honeycomb
- warped metal accessories and parts
- discolored and/or distorted chimney cap
- TV antenna that has been damaged by heat
- pieces and flakes of creosote on the roof or ground
- damaged roof
- cracks in the bricks and mortar on the exterior part of the chimney
- smoke escaping through mortar joints or tile liners
These signs all point to the fact that a chimney fire has occurred. If you notice any of these signs, you should contact Ashbusters as soon as possible for a chimney inspection.
If you suspect you have had a chimney fire, do not hesitate to contact us at Ashbusters. Our chimney experts can perform a Level 3 chimney inspection to determine exactly what happened.