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Preventing Chimney Fires with Chimney Cleaning

Most chimney fires are easily prevented with proper usage and chimney maintenance. In fact, one of the best ways you can avoid chimney fires is by regularly scheduling professional chimney cleaning. Chimney fires can be extremely damaging to your chimney and home, and they can also injure you or your family members. If you live in the Silver Spring, MD or surrounding area, prevent chimney fires today by contacting Capitol Chimney Service for chimney sweeping today.

What Causes Chimney Fires

Most chimney fires are caused when too much dirt builds up inside a chimney interior. When you burn wood in your fireplace, the smoke condenses into a tar-like substance called creosote. Flames and sparks in your chimney can easily ignite a creosote buildup on the inside of your chimney, causing a chimney fire to occur.

This is why one of the best ways to prevent chimney fires is to schedule regular chimney cleaning. We recommend you have your chimney cleaned at least once a year, but if you use your chimney frequently, you could require more frequent chimney sweeping.

In order to determine if your chimney needs cleaning, check the inside of your chimney with a flashlight once a month to assess the amount of creosote and soot buildup. If you notice a 1/4 inch or more of buildup, contact Capitol Chimney Service for chimney cleaning today.

You can also prevent chimney fires by purchasing seasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood has a lower moisture content, so it burns faster and cleaner than wood with a lot of moisture. Firewood with a high moisture content leads to more creosote buildup, which can cause a chimney fire to spark. And finally, avoid burning anything other than firewood in your fireplace, including cardboard boxes and paper products—which are known to spark chimney fires.

Signs of a Chimney Fire

Although some chimney fires involve large flames and leaping cinders, you should also be wary of slow-burning but equally dangerous sleeper fires. Sleeper fires generally don’t have enough air or fuel to appear as visible flames, but they can still reach very high temperatures and cause a lot of damage to your chimney.

Because not all chimney fires have visible flames, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have fire damage. There are a few good indicators you can check for to determine if you have fire damage:

  • cracks in the flue tiles or masonry
  • residue on the ground on roof
  • warped metal chimney components

What to do After a Chimney Fire

After a chimney fire, it’s crucial that you schedule a chimney inspection before attempting to use your fireplace or chimney again. Chimney fires can damage your chimney structure, chimney flue, flue liner, and other chimney components, so it’s important to have a professional inspect your chimney to figure out if you need any chimney repairs.

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