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Get The Facts on Chimney Fires

Schenectady NY Home Inspector Get The Facts on Chimney Fires
Get The Facts on Chimney Fires

Your chimney (and the flue that connects to it) adds architectural interest to your house, but its own' actual role is to carry harmful gases out of your fireplace, wood stove or furnace and outside of your dwelling.

As you unwind before your fireplace or bask in the warmth of your wood stove, the very last thing you will likely be considering is the state of your chimney. But if you do not devote some thought to it, your pleasure may be rather short-lived.

Dirty chimneys may lead to chimney fires, which can lead to massive harm to your home and--even worse--serious injury or even death to occupants.

Dense smoke, loud cracking sounds, and extreme odor are signs that a chimney fire may be occuring.

​Chimney fires may burn explosively. Flames or dense smoke can shoot from the surface of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling noise that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying plane. But, those are just the chimney fires you hear about.

​Slow-burning chimney fires do not have enough air or possess enough fuel to be visible or dramatic and they frequently go unnoticed until a subsequent chimney review...However, the temperatures they achieve are extremely high and may cause as much harm to the chimney’s construction -- and nearby parts of the house.

Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to securely contain fires while providing warmth for the house. The chimneys that serve them have the task of expelling the by-products of combustion: these include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood contaminants, hydrocarbon, tar fog and various minerals.

As these materials exit the fireplace or wood stove and flow to the relatively cooler chimney, condensation happens. The resulting residue that sticks into the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.

Creosote is a black or brownish residue that can be tar-like, drippy and sticky or hardened and polished. All kinds are highly caustic. If it builds up in sufficient quantities -- and the inner flue temperature is large enough -- the outcome might be a chimney fire.

If you believe a chimney fire has occurred, call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to get an expert evaluation.

If your suspicions are confirmed, a certified sweep will have the ability to make recommendations on how to make the system back into compliance with all security standards.

Based upon the circumstances, you may require a couple of flue tiles replaced, a fresh liner system set up or a whole chimney rebuild. Each circumstance is unique, but safety should come first.

The Author Schenectady NY Home Inspections LLC is a locally owned and family operated Home Inspection Company. Schenectady NY Home Inspections is located in Schenectady NY and has performed over 6500 Inspections Book online

Phone: 1-800-603-5194

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