Proper cleaning and maintenance of your chimney can prevent fires. Chimney fires are explosive. Oftentimes they go unnoticed or undetected. Flames shoot from the top of the chimney. This can cause additional fires in or around the home.

Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are designed to contain wood-fueled fires while providing heat at the same time. The job of the chimney is to expel the substances produced when the wood burns. These substances include:

  • Smoke
  • Water vapor
  • Gases
  • Unburned wood particles
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Tar fog and associated minerals.

When these substances leave the fireplace or wood stove a condensation occurs. The residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.

What is creosote?

Creosote is a crusty black residue that has a sticky, tar-like composition. It is extremely combustible and continuous build-up could result in a chimney fire. Creosote build-up can be caused by:

  • Low air supply in the chimney
  • Unseasoned wood
  • Extremely cool chimney temperatures

How Can You Tell If Your Chimney Has Had a Fire?

A damaged chimney can endanger your home and your family. Chimney fires go undetected. You should have your chimney inspected at least once a year and especially if you use your wood stove or fireplace regularly during the winter months. Signs of a chimney fire include:

  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles
  • Discolored or distorted rain cap
  • The warped metal of the damper
  • Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material that has been damaged from hot creosote
  • Crack in the exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

If you notice any of these signs contact us so that we can inspect your chimney. Advanced Chimney Sweeps, Inc. is a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® company. We will evaluate your chimney and make recommendations to bring your system into compliance with safety standards.

Posted in: chimney fires, Chimney Sweeps, Fire Safety Tips, Fireplace Cleaning, Fireplace Tips, Uncategorized