How to Tell if Your Chimney is on Fire and Prevent It

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons

As temps continue to fall, we begin to hear more and more of chimney fires. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics, there are about 22,500 house fires annually caused by chimneys. And as we always say, not all chimney fires are preventable, but most are.

One question we often get from homeowners concerned about chimney fires is “How can I tell if my chimney is on fire.” We normally respond with these important indicators provided by the Chimney Safety Institute of America:

  • loud cracking and popping noise
  • flames shooting from your chimney
  • low, loud rumbling noise that sounds like a freight train or airplane overhead
  • a lot of dense smoke
  • an intense, hot smell

If you’re in doubt about whether your chimney is on fire, dial 911 immediately. There are products on the market that claim to help extinguish a chimney fire by sucking out oxygen. We can’t vouch for the effectiveness of these products, nor do we think a fire raging in your chimney is the time to test them out. Dialing 911 is always your safest move.

Preventing a Chimney Fire

Now that we’ve explained some of the warning signs of a chimney fire, here are a few simple tips you can use to prevent one from starting in your home.

  • Hire a professional and certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney annually. As we’ve stated emphatically in the past, cleaning your chimney is not a DIY job. There is little margin for error with the consequences putting you and your family at risk.
  • Only burn dry or cured wood. Burning wet or uncured wood leads to more creosote buildup in your flue. It’s that creosote buildup that usually leads to the ignition of a chimney fire.
  • Don’t burn garbage in your fireplace. Not only does garbage contain chemicals that are dangerous to inhale, it can also lead to more dangerous buildup of combustible materials in your chimney.
  • Keep your fireplace clean. Never start a fire on top of a bed of coals or ash for a previous fire. Doing so can cause the fire to burn even hotter than normal, sparking a chimney fire.
  • Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector close to your fireplace.

About Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration

Valley Chimney Sweep is a family owned and operated business, serving the chimneys of the Fox Valley since 1978. We offer a wide range of certified and professional chimney services. Our No. 1 goal is to provide our customers with a safe and efficient chimney. Contact us today to schedule your next chimney inspection.

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“Valley Chimney has been servicing my home in Oswego, IL for three years now. The first year they recommended a heat reflector and different wood grill. What a difference that made! Now we actually get some heat in the room instead of just the ambiance! They also fixed some issues with brick and helped me save a few dollars by telling me how to remove the gas line correctly to convert to wood only. If you want a pro servicing your chimney, these are the guys to call.”

Oswego, IL

8940 D Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995

valleychimneyinfo@gmail.com

Service over 40,000 clients across the western suburbs of Chicago