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What to Do in Case of a Chimney Fire

At Capitol Chimney Service, you always hear us warning you about the dangers of a chimney fire. We hope you never experience one! But if you do, we want you to be as prepared as possible—hence this blog post.

Be Prepared for a Chimney Fire

There are some things you should always have on hand if a chimney fire ever breaks out. First, it’s important to have a smoke detector on ever floor of your home in case a chimney fire or other fire occurs. Next, you should keep a chimney fire extinguisher on hand. These are special fire extinguishers that are designed specifically to draw smoke up your chimney and suffocate the fire.

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.

Signs of a Chimney Fire

It is completely possible to have a chimney fire and not even know it! 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.

If you can’t see visible flames, here are some other signs of a chimney fire:

  • Loud roaring noise heard throughout your home
  • Debris flying out the top of your chimney
  • Popping or cracking noises inside the chimney
  • A lot of black smoke coming out of your chimney

If You Have a Chimney Fire…

It’s always best to call the fire department and evacuate your family or other house occupants. Depending on what type of fireplace you have, you can close the doors, vents, and air inlets to cut off the fire’s oxygen source (just don’t close the damper) after using your chimney fire extinguisher.

You can hose down your roof to avoid the chimney fire from spreading to your roof. However, hosing down your chimney can damage it when it’s heated up from the fire.

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. 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.

Avoid Chimney Fires

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 Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia area, prevent chimney fires today by contacting Capitol Chimney Service for chimney sweeping today.

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