Chimney Fire Prevention

In the US alone, 125 million dollars are spent every single year trying to repair the damage that chimney fires can cause. The worst part is that a large number of these fires could have been prevented had the chimneys been inspected and swept by a qualified professional.

If you’ve ever worried about a chimney fire happening to you, we can help. ARC exists to give you and your family real piece of mind. Whenever you light a fire, you should feel confident that you are safe. Chimney fires are preventable.

Chimney fires occur for two main reasons:

There is a large amount of creosote in the chimney or a liner or structural issue has let the fire get a foothold in a more flammable area around the chimney.

If you think you have a chimney fire:

Always get yourself and everyone out of the house. There is always a chance that the fire will spread. Call the fire department as soon as possible. These are the only people equipped to deal with a chimney fire as it is happening.

If you have had a chimney fire and would like to use your fireplace again, we can help clean up any damage that the fire may have caused your chimney and fireplace, allowing for safe use once more.

There are two main types of chimney fires: Slow-Burning and Free-Burning.

Not all chimney fires are loud and showy. If you happen to encounter a slow burning fire, you may not even realize the kind of danger it represents. These smaller, less noticeable fires are no less “out of control”. They burn at very hot temperatures, allowing damage to occur and making way for a larger, more powerful blaze to come- unless the damage is corrected in time.

Common signs of “quieter” chimney fire include: fly ash, charred chimney caps, and damage to liners (often cracks.)

If you’ve had one chimney fire and the damage has not been repaired, you will have another one. Call us at (228) 205-4543 so we can find out how the first fire started, and prevent any more chimney fires from occurring. We take our job very seriously and we want you to be safe.

Tips to burn cleaner, safer fires:

  • Any wood you burn should be dried out. This means that your firewood will ideally be 12 months old (or more) and have a moisture meter rating of about 15 to 25 percent.
  • A fire should be started with dry kindling or clean newspaper. Don’t burn trash.
  • Kerosene and gasoline should never be used to start a fire.
  • Burn large logs if you can get them.
  • Never skip your annual chimney cleaning and inspection. This is vital to reducing your risk of chimney fire.

How much harm can a chimney fire really cause?

Plenty. Not only will your chimney be severely damaged no matter what kind of fire you have, in many cases the fire will spread. Damage to your home will often occur, as well as irreparable damage to possessions in and near the blaze.

How your chimney type affects the fire:

“Masonry Chimneys” These are the types of chimneys that often harbor one or several smaller fires before a large, free burning fire will occur. The first fire damages the structure. Each subsequent fire causes further damage until sparks can catch hold on more flammable terrain. Anything flammable near the fireplace or chimney will catch fire. This may include the roof or attic.

“Prefabricated Chimneys” Have been built and tested to stand up to high heat. The temperature of many chimney fires, however, is in excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than high enough to warp the metal of a prefabricated chimney or liner. If a fire has occurred in this type of chimney, if is essential that the liner is completely replaced (and any other damage repaired) before you try to light another fire.

A chimney fire is a dangerous and frightening thing to experience. With annual inspections from ARC Chimney sweeps, you may never have to.

Remember: Chimney fires are preventable. If you take steps to burn only the right materials and schedule annual inspections, you will stay safe.

Call us today to schedule your annual cleaning and inspection. Prevent chimney fires in your own home. Our number is (228) 205-4543.