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What To Do If You Have A Chimney Fire

After a chimney fire, most homeowners are left with a lot of questions about the state of their chimney system: when will I be able to use my fireplace again? Will I have to have the entire chimney torn down? Is it even safe for us to stay in the house? A CSIA certified chimney sweep should always be the first person you call after a chimney fire.

In addition to answering any questions you have about the state of your chimney, they can also identify the damage the fire has caused and the necessary repairs you need. At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we are the team to call if you have experienced a chimney fire in your home.

What are the signs of a chimney fire?

a house on fireChimney fires can be so small that they often go unnoticed. Sometimes, they can be large enough to spread to another part of your house. Whether there were flames spewing from the top of the chimney or unusual popping sounds when the fireplace is in use, the following are signs that you may have experienced a chimney fire.

  • Puffy creosote in the flue
  • Warped metal components such as the damper, smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory-built chimney pipe
  • Collapsing, cracked, or missing flue tiles
  • A distorted or discolored chimney cap
  • Fire or smoke damage to the roof surrounding the chimney
  • Pieces of creosote on the roof
  • Cracks to the exterior masonry
  • Signs of smoke escaping through the mortar joints of the masonry

Can my chimney be repaired after a chimney fire?

Each chimney fire causes unique damage. There is often not a single, simple solution for how to repair the chimney after a fire. An inspection by a certified chimney sweep is the most effective way to evaluate the damage caused by a chimney fire. Some common repairs after a chimney fire include:

  • Chimney sweeping and removal of remaining creosote
  • Repairing or replacing damaged flue tiles
  • Relining the flue
  • Repairing interior or exterior masonry
  • Rebuilding part or all of the chimney

How do I prevent a chimney fire?

The best way to prevent a chimney fire from occurring is by having regular chimney sweepings. In addition to removing soot and ash, chimney sweeping removes creosote. Creosote is highly flammable, as it is a byproduct of combustion. It can easily ignite from stray sparks or embers and is often the cause of chimney fires. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends homeowners have at least one chimney sweeping per year.

In addition to annual chimney sweepings, how you use your fireplace can also help to lower the risk of a chimney fire. Seasoned hardwoods should be used for firewood, as they burn most efficiently and produce the least amount of smoke and creosote. Softwoods such as pine may be fragrant, but they create more creosote than woods like ash or maple.

After a chimney fire, a certified chimney sweep is the best resource for answering questions and evaluating the condition of your fireplace and chimney. If you think you have experienced a chimney fire, contact the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

Why Does My Chimney Stink?

Whether it starts suddenly or builds over time, an unidentified chimney odor can make your home uncomfortable and stinky. Instead of turning to air fresheners or scented candles, it is important to identify and repair the root cause of a stinky chimney. This helps to keep chimney odors from coming back, and it also improves the air quality in your home. At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we want to help you learn some things that can cause your chimney to stink and how we can help with it.

What causes stinky chimneys?

masonry chimney on side of homeUnfortunately, there is not one hard and fast rule for what causes stinky chimneys. Different odors have different causes. Often, a chimney inspection is all you need to uncover the root cause of an odor. The following are four of the most common causes of stinky chimneys.


Odors associated with animal entry usually start suddenly. They are usually sharp or rotting odors and are often accompanied by the sounds of scurrying or scratching in the chimney. Birds, raccoons, and squirrels are just some of the animals that can – whether on purpose or an accident – become trapped in your chimney. Animal feces, food, drying nesting materials, or even dead animals can cause serious odors to overwhelm your entire home. In addition, they can carry bacteria, pests, and other microorganisms. Because of this, it is important to have animals professionally removed as soon as possible.


Creosote is a dark, sticky byproduct of fuel-burning fires that accumulates in the flue. While small amounts of creosote buildup occur with regular fireplace use, not having the chimney regularly swept or burning green or wet wood can cause extra creosote accumulation. Smoky or dirty smells are the result of hot or humid weather mixing with creosote buildup inside your chimney.

While the outside of the chimney is designed to withstand exposure to water, the inside is not. The presence of water in the chimney is often the result of a chimney leak. Leaky chimneys can cause dank, damp odors, as water has trouble evaporating in the cool, dark chimney.


In addition, water in the firebox or chimney can lead to mold or mildew growth, which can significantly negatively impact the air quality in the home. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma are at risk of health complications such as breathing issues when mold is present.


Drafting issues can cause smoky fireplace odors too. However, smells associated with drafting issues are most common on windy days – and when the fireplace is in use. Drafting issues are commonly caused by a flue that is the wrong size. If a new insert has been installed or if the fuel source of the fireplace has been changed, the flue may need to be relined to ensure proper draft.

Don’t let a stinky chimney ruin the air quality in your home. Instead, you should invest in fireplace experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today. Our chimney experts can provide you with more information on chimney odors or your next chimney inspection.

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