What Is a Chimney Fire?

Your chimney and the flue that lines it adds architectural interest to your home, but its real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home.  As you relax in front of your fireplace, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney. However, if you don’t give some thought to it before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment could be very short-lived.

What is a chimney fire?

A chimney fire is a fire that occurs further up in your flue system as a result of reignited creosote or other highly flammable byproducts due to consistent fires or combustion. Simply put, the cause of a chimney fire is a dirty chimney that has not been properly inspected. Chimney sweeps serve to remove the dangerous build up of creosote from the flue system, and an inspection ensures that any unwanted deterioration is brought to your attention as the homeowner.

Why is a chimney cleaning and inspection important?

All may seem good and well lighting the fire, but if it has not been cleaned or inspected, at least once annually, you could be setting you and your home up for a serious loss. Bear in mind that when using the fireplace, you are lighting a fire inside of your home, and not having peace of mind about how it will perform is not a great plan for ensuring the safety of you and those anticipating an enjoyable experience. We certainly do not mean to sound fatalistic here, but there are serious repercussions for lighting a fire in your home and not knowing the safety and functionality of the components responsible for keeping it all under control.

Detecting a chimney fire

Chimney fires can sometimes be detected by the smell of the fire which will be an intense burning smell (not simply the smell of smoke). If your clay flue tiles or stainless steel liner are experiencing an high, concentrated amount of heat as the creosote is reignited, you may catch a drift of the intense heat-smell of these components, and that could be a strong indication of a chimney fire. The folks over at the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also report that loud popping or dense smoke may come from further up in the chimney flue.

Some chimney fires are easily seen or heard from the exterior of the home as dense smoke billows out of the chimney. If you search for photos of a chimney fire you may also see photos of fire coming from the top of the chimney. The repercussions of this type of event could be devastating.

How to prevent chimney fires

Chimney fires are preventable with proper chimney cleanliness and maintenance, and certified sweeps are tested and approved by the third-party institution to know your chimney, compliance and safety regulations, and finally proper venting procedures to ensure the safety of your home. Be sure to learn the best way to hire your chimney sweep for your Nashville home.

The good news? All of CMO’s chimney sweeps are certified by the CSIA, so be sure to give us a call and grow a little peace of mind as you light up your fireplace this winter: (615) 823-8268.