What is a Chimney Fire?
Chimney fires are not every day occurrences in people’s lives. In fact the less frequent the better! A chimney fire is a fire that burns up the inside walls of the flue, or chimney. It is very similar to what I imagine a jet engine to be like. There is lots of raw fuel lining a round chamber, an inlet and outlet, and heat from a wood-burning fireplace or woodstove down below. This really sets up a rather ideal scenario for high temperatures and out-of-control burning!
How do Chimney Fires Start?
Chimney Fires start when months of regular usage of a fireplace or woodstove results in build up along the inside walls of the flue, or the inside of the chimney. This deposit may be soft dry soot or tar-like or even glazed. Some forms of creosote will catch fire easier than others, and while I have never been inside of a chimney to witness it, I know that when it is swept out and clean it is hard to support a chimney fire. Some forms of creosote cannot be removed by conventional chimney sweep brushes. Instead a chimney creosote remover chemical is in order. Listen to your Certified Chimney Professional and decide what the best path of resolution is for the creosote in your chimney.
Are Chimney Fires Fun?
Conventional wisdom says this is not a wise question. First of all, Yes chimney fires are fun if it is a demonstration in a parking lot or if you are watching someone else’s chimney go up in smoke! Secondly, it is a dangerous activity and you should not use it as a method of chimney cleaning. that is right, we actually have people indicate that chimney fires are fairly regular occurrences for them and they rather enjoy the cathartic experience. Just hire a chimney sweep is what we say. Don’t take the risk if you can mitigate the risk. Select a Level II Chimney Inspection from Midtown Chimney Sweeps if you have not done so in several years. This Level II Inspection will only cost a few dollars more than an annual sweep and inspection and will get you a more detailed and thorough understanding of your chimney or fireplace. We will run a live scan video camera up and down the flue and inspect for cracks and other potential safety hazards!
In Conclusion, What is a Chimney Fire and How can I Prevent One?
A chimney fire is a high heat event inside a chimney that burns the creosote along the entire inside walls of the flue and may compromise the integrity of the venting system and passageway. One may reduce the risk of chimney fires by having the chimney inspected and cleaned annually!