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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

What You Need to Know About Chimney Fire

Because of their increased heating efficiency, many people have switched to using fireplaces, inserts, or stoves to supplement their homes heating needs. However, if these heating systems are not well maintained, they have the potential to turn into a fire hazard. Whatever type of appliance you operate, if your chimney isn’t being swept regularly, there is potential for a chimney fire. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), more than 20,000 residential house fires every year can be traced back to the chimney. One of the most unfortunate things about this statistic is that most of these fires could have been prevented with some maintenance and upkeep. At Old Smokey’s we want to raise awareness about chimney fires and help you understand how you can protect your home from them.

Chimney Fires 

Burning any type of fuel releases smoke, soot and gas byproducts, but wood tends to release more of that then other fuel sources such as natural gas. As these byproducts go up your chimney, they start to cool down and condenses on the inside of your chimney. This condensation will start to accumulate, forming a thick, black, tar-like substance called creosote. If enough creosote builds up, it can combust at high temperatures, creating a chimney fire that is nearly impossible to extinguish. As little as a ⅛ inch of creosote buildup is considered hazardous. Although you’ll always produce creosote when you burn fuel, you can reduce the number of byproducts produced in your fire by burning seasoned wood and maintaining hot fires.

Although natural gas doesn’t produce much creosote, there are other things that can cause a chimney fire. Debris from trees, animal nests and anything else that may have fallen or blown into your chimney can also be a fire hazard. This type of debris is usually made up of wood and leaves, meaning it can combust at lower temperatures than creosote and once it ignites, it can get hot enough to start the creosote in your chimney on fire as well. 

Inspections

The most important thing you can do to decrease your chimney fire risk is to have it inspected once a year by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep. Annual inspections are critical for making sure that your chimney and fireplace is operating properly. During an inspection a chimney sweep will make sure there is no damage to your chimney and fireplace, checking all the components of your chimney system (chimney cap, chimney crown, flashing, etc.) as well. They will also make sure that there are no clogs in your chimney and that there isn’t much creosote build up. If there is, it will need to be swept clean.

If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a while, your chimney may be a fire hazard. We are now taking appointments for spring cleaning, so call us at 800-876-6539 or 260-424-0009 or reach us online to set up an inspection with one of our chimney sweeps. We look forward to serving you!

Time To Get A Chimney Sweeping

Nothing beats the snow and the frigid cold temperatures like cozying around a warm fire with your loved ones. This winter has been especially long and cold and you’ve probably been using your fireplace quite often. However, spring is in sight and soon it won’t be long until warmer weather arrives and it’ll be time to give your fireplace a little time off. This is a perfect time to get your annual chimney sweeping. A clean chimney is crucial to the safe operation of your chimney system and with winter almost done, now is the perfect time to schedule a cleaning. At Old Smokey’s, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) trained and certified professionals have swept over 20,000 chimney’s in our 30 plus years in the industry. Customer satisfaction is the hallmark of our business and numbers like that translate into a lot of satisfied customers.

Why sweeping is important?sand timer sitting on calendars, creating a schedule

Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA) recommend getting your chimney cleaned and inspected by a CSIA certified chimney technician at least once a year. This is to check for combustible materials and that your chimney and fireplace is in good working and structural condition. There are a lot of things that could have happened to your chimney and fireplace over the past year. Winter can be especially hard on your chimney. If you used your chimney frequently over the winter, soot and creosote will settle and build up on the inside of your chimney. This can be a big issue because creosote is combustible and if it ignites, it creates a fire that is nearly impossible to extinguish.

Water and Your Masonry

Another winter related issue can also arise if moisture gets into the tiny pores or cracks in your chimney masonry. Water will freeze and expand if it sits in your chimneys masonry. Over time, this can weaken the structural integrity of your chimney causing it to crack or crumble. A thorough cleaning and inspection mean that these issues could be caught before they become a more serious issue.

Spring is a very busy time of year for us so appointment slots are starting to fill up fast! Call and schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection with northern Indiana’s, northern Ohio’s, and mid-Michigan’s number one chimney service today! You can reach Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!

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