Chimney fires are extremely dangerous as they have the potential to spread out and cause fire to break out into your home. What makes chimney fires even more hazardous is the fact that due to their location and inaccessibility, they usually go undetected at first. This makes them more prone to spreading and causing significant damage to your property.
Even after a fire has been extinguished, it would have caused serious damage to your chimney, so you should be careful and not use your fireplace right away. Here we explore the severity of damages fire can cause to your chimney.
Structural Deformation in Chimney
A fire can cause damage to the inner and outer structure of your chimney. If you have a masonry chimney, the fire would have caused cracks to form in the brick and mortar. Even if your masonry chimney flue is tiled or lined from the inside, the fire can damage these features. The location of your chimney matters too. If you have an interior chimney, then these cracks would cause smoke to leak out into the other areas of your home.
After a fire, inspect the chimney from the inside. Cracks may form on the exterior as well, so you’ll need a professional to inspect for cracks there and reseal them.
Chimney Liners Damage
Any chimney liners you’d have installed in your chimney may also be damaged because of the fire. If you have a stainless steel flue liner, the heat from the fire could cause it to expand and form cracks. The liner is prone to corrosion from the fire, and any more fires can cause the corrosion to speed up.
The extent of damage to the stainless steel flue liner can only be properly assessed by a professional, but it would most likely need to be replaced after a fire. Chimney liners should not be neglected as they help regulate the temperature of the flue and make the chimney easier to clean.
The damper in the chimney allows air to flow in or out. After a fire, it may sustain damages which would cause it to get jammed or not slide open easily. If the damper is used without inspection and proper repairs, it won’t allow the smoke from the fireplace to escape properly. The damper also helps in ventilation when the fireplace is not working, so make sure it operates perfectly as you’ll need it even when you’re not using the fireplace.
How to Spot Chimney Fires
Chimney fires may be difficult to spot, but there are some signs which can indicate their presence. If you hear loud cracking or popping sounds coming from the inside of your chimney when the fireplace isn’t working, it could point to a chimney fire.
The walls surrounding your fireplace or the chimney would also be quite hot to touch in case of a chimney fire. Other signs include embers falling into the fireplace from the chimney or smoke and flames coming out of the flue on the roof.
Chimney Fire Prevention Techniques
You can prevent chimney fires in your home by ensuring that your chimney is regularly inspected and swept. Regular maintenance of your chimney by a professional chimney service ensures that the lining is cleared of any debris or creosote formation that can fuel chimney fires.
You should also practice precaution while using your fireplace. Use only fry firewood as fuel in the fireplace, as using wet firewood can lead to more creosote forming, increasing the quantity of this combustible substance. If you’re unsure about the moisture content of the wood, you can always check it with a water meter. To seal off cracks in the fireplace, you can use a fireguard for extra protection.
Even minor chimney fires can cause carbon monoxide poisoning in your home and put your family’s health at risk. Preventing them starts with proper and regular maintenance of your fireplace and chimneys. You can also look into installing features to fire-proof the area such as a fireguard and flue covers.
About the Author
The author is a chimney repair expert currently working at Creative Masonry & Chimney. They enjoy gardening and volunteering in their free time.
If you’re a homeowner with a fireplace and a chimney installed, you need to ensure they are kept in the best condition using a professional chimney company’s services. Creative Masonry & Chimney offers a wide range of chimney services in CT including repair and inspection. Call us on (860) 225-9178 to learn more and have your chimney inspected!