Chimneys carry smoke from your fireplace out your home but have been known to cause a fire in certain instances. You don’t need to panic though. Once you learn about how your chimney works, you’ll see that with the right maintenance it’s almost impossible for a chimney fire to occur. If you have a chimney and fireplace, these are some things you should bear in mind so that your chimney never puts you at risk.
Dirty chimneys are problematic
Being a chimney sweep was once a very popular profession for a reason! Chimneys can get very dirty as hot smoke, and small wooden particles met with cool air entering the chimney from the outside. Condensation occurs, and this causes a build-up of a substance known as creosote. Creosote is usually dark in colour and can be sticky, flaky or even tar-like. The problem with creosote is that it’s very flammable and even a stray ember from your fireplace can cause a chimney fire. To decrease the amount of creosote created, only ever use the recommended type of wood in your fireplace and ensure there are no blockages.
Types of fires created
Creosote tends to create either explosive fires or slow burning ones. Both are equally deadly but easy enough to detect as long as you never leave a fire burning while no one is at home. Signs that an explosive chimney fire is about to occur include unnaturally loud cracking noises, a higher than normal amount of smoke and an intense smell. This indicates that a highly flammable fire could be imminent.
As well as dangerous, explosive chimney fires, creosote can also cause small slow burning fires that can go undetected. While these may seem less dangerous, they can cause major damage to your chimney’s structural integrity, which can eventually cause your chimney to crumble. The best way to avoid these fires from occurring in the same way you can avoid chimney fires altogether by getting a professional to clean your chimney.