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What To Do If You Have A Chimney Fire

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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!