A fire within the confines of your fireplace makes for a cozy, relaxing environment in your home. But a fire in your chimney can be extremely dangerous, threatening both your house and the people living within it. If the fire ignites within your chimney, you might not notice right away.
But the more you know about what this situation looks like, the more likely you can prevent it or know what to do if it should occur. Read on to learn details about chimney fires and how to avoid this emergency.
Signs of a Chimney Fire
If a fire starts within the flue of your chimney, you might worry you will not know it is there. But there are certain signs you can notice when you have a chimney fire that will allow you to take urgent action.
Though you might not have a clear view of your chimney’s interior from inside your house, you will still likely see a great deal of smoke if you have a chimney fire. It will travel both out of the chimney as well as down through the fireplace and into your home. You might also see pieces of flaming debris come down your chimney.
You will also notice several types of sounds in the event of a chimney fire. A crackling or popping sound, as with a bonfire, might come from within the flue. Or you might hear a roaring noise as the fire burns larger. If any of these things occur, take the matter seriously and do not ignore it.
Actions to Take If You Have a Chimney Fire
Even a small chimney fire can worsen very quickly, so take prompt action. Close the damper of the chimney to cut off airflow to the fire within the flue. This can lower the risk of the fire burning out of control.
Do not use water to attempt to douse the fire as this could lead to severe structural damage within the chimney. Use a fire extinguisher if you can. But if you cannot handle the fire yourself, do not hesitate to dial 911. In the event of a dangerous fire, get out of your house immediately and contact emergency services.
Chimney Fire Prevention Tips
You can reduce your risk of a chimney fire by following prevention advice from your local chimney expert. Chimney fires often start due to creosote build-up, the natural accrual that collects within the flue when you burn wood. This substance is combustible, so make sure you get regular cleanings from your chimney sweep.
You should schedule an annual sweep and inspection of your chimney to ensure it is safe to use. Ideally, you should hire a professional to do this to get the job done more thoroughly, minimizing the risk of a fire. Use the fireplace properly too, choosing the right wood to burn and equipment to employ, to further lower the chances of a hazardous fire.