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The Dangers of Chimney Fires

The Dangers of Chimney Fires champion chimneys

Preparation is the best way to protect your home and family against a chimney fire.

Once the weather becomes consistently crisp, few things are more restorative—nor as comfy-cozy and (so to speak) warmer—than a crackling chimney fire. It can be a place to gather around with loved ones and unwittingly lay the groundwork for fond memories; just as well, it can be a critical or even primary heat source, depending on the nature of your home’s construction. Of course, certain inherent dangers are involved whenever the hearth is ablaze: it hardly bears reminding that fire itself is as volatile and destructive as a fireplace is soothing and useful. Other risks, however, are far less noticeable and all the more dangerous for this nominal subtlety. 

Along with regular chimney inspections and as-recommended maintenance, knowledge is the best preventative resource to ensure that your property and—far more importantly—yourself and your family (however you conceptualize the term) are protected against the calamitous threat of a chimney fire.

Read along for a quick primer that, despite its relative brevity, may help you prevent disaster outright.

An Underrecognized Danger

One might reasonably assume that fireplace-related disasters are most commonly caused by “renegade” sparks or licks of flame escaping containment. While this is certainly a possibility, the far more likely cause of such circumstances is a chimney fire. Let’s break down the “how” and “why” for utmost clarity:

  • Some chemical residue is dispersed all around the apparatus and ventilation systems with every fireplace usage. What we often call “soot” gathered under the rack or strewn about the chimney floor can seem fairly innocuous—and easy enough to sweep up. But…
  • Creosote—a tarry and highly combustible compound made from intermingled trace remnants/particles of smoke, water vapor, various gases, whatever wood has been burned, and even mineral material from the fireplace itself—accumulates unseen within your chimney during each fire.
  • Without professional cleaning, creosote can eventually become sufficient to cause chimney fires once the inner flue temperature reaches a certain point.
  • When this happens, it happens fast. Creosote’s properties as a highly efficient accelerant will often cause flames to spread wildly and unidirectionally. Anyone and anything within the home would be in grave and immediate danger. Damage mitigation is often quite tricky.

A “Surefire” Solution

Here we’ll draw on the adage of “an ounce of prevention…” The potential for a chimney fire can be rendered more or less null by simply scheduling annual/seasonal chimney inspections. Rest assured that there will be no “underrecognized danger for a highly-skilled chimney sweep.” A thoroughly-trained professional will assess whether/what action needs taking, and proceed as appropriate after consulting with you. This often results in a chimney cleaning—or “sweep”—a thorough process wherein any harmful elements are safely, efficiently, and meticulously removed.

…But, given enough comfy-cozy time gathered around that restorative, rip-roaring, memory-making hearth, creosote build-up will always eventually reach hazard status once again. Hence the importance of regular, pre-planned chimney inspections at the start of every “fireplace season”—whenever that may be for you. Remember that more frequent cleanings will naturally engender less labor-intensive cleanings over time. Therefore, maintaining this schedule of inspection/evaluation and cleaning/repair will not serve to ensure your continued safety but also to make chimney sweeps an increasingly less disruptive process—not to mention a less costly one.

Schedule Your Fall Chimney Cleaning from Champion Chimneys, Inc.

When you need a trusted company for your chimney inspection and chimney cleaning, you can trust our team. Champion Chimneys, Inc. is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured chimney service company that has served customers in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, since 2001. Our team is trained and certified by Certified Chimney Professionals, Inc. (CCP, Inc.). We specialize in all aspects of your chimney system. Whether you need chimney and flue cleaning service or a full chimney rebuild or inspection, contact us at 443-Chimney today and let us fix all your chimney problems. Also, follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 11th, 2022 at 10:41 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.