With regards to home safety, more goes on than meets the eye in your fireplace and chimney. Experts in fire safety are all in agreement that a yearly chimney inspection is vital, no matter what type of fuel is used in the fireplace; this fact seems like a perfect “red flag” regarding the potential danger of failing to check the condition of your fireplace and chimney. On the annual priority list for home maintenance, chimney cleaning is right up there with inspections because neglected chimneys cause thousands of hazardous chimney fires as well as a number of deadly house fires every year.
With each wood fire in your fireplace, toxic combustion byproducts exit through the chimney and, also, creosote is deposited in the chimney liner. Creosote is a highly flammable tar-like substance, and it shows up in several forms. All three types of creosote increase the threat of a chimney fire. Creosote buildup in dirty chimneys creates even more problems.
There is a widespread myth that chimney fires can be helpful because they feed off of and remove creosote. In reality, chimney fires are usually caused by the presence of excess creosote, and these blazes are extremely dangerous. Chimney infernos can burn explosively, damage chimney flues, weaken masonry, and lead to home fires that cause injury or death.
Some chimney fires are highly intense and impossible to ignore while others are just as potentially dangerous but may not provide clear-cut warnings of their existence. The following are noticeable indications of a chimney fire:
- Loud popping and cracking noises coming from the chimney
- Startling low rumbling sounds similar to a low-flying airplane or a freight train can be heard
- Dense smoke pours from the chimney
- Flames can be seen shooting from the chimney
- Inside the home, there is an intense, hot odor
Obstruction Caused by Creosote
When homeowners skip routine chimney cleaning, creosote builds up layer upon layer. Unless the chimney is cleaned, creosote will eventually cause chimney blockage, which creates an additional hazard. When the toxic fumes created by wood fires do not exit through the chimney properly due to chimney blockage, those hazardous gases enter the home. Carbon monoxide, known as a Silent Killer, is among those gases.
Anytime you use your fireplace, it is important to have an operational carbon monoxide detector to protect you and your family from the deadly gas. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, invisible, and symptomless up to a point where those who have been exposed are unaware until it’s too late.
A Damaged Flue Lining or Firebox
If a chimney flue is damaged to any extent, no matter how seemingly small, your home and family are at risk. The purpose of the flue includes protecting the home from the intense heat of fires and from toxic fumes. It is seldom obvious that a flue is damaged, though bits of clay tile in your fireplace provide a good hint. A chimney inspection with a video check of the entire flue is the most reliable method for ensuring that your chimney liner is intact and your fireplace and chimney are safe and ready for use.
Call Complete Chimneys Today
It’s important to schedule a chimney inspection and chimney cleaning with fully trained chimney professionals. Complete Chimneys LLC is the best place to call in Maryland and it has been for decades. We offer high-caliber services at Complete Chimney, and we are fully devoted to delivering customer satisfaction, as well. Make sure your fireplace and chimney are in good condition and ready for cold weather. Schedule a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, chimney repair, masonry rebuilds, and all other chimney services by calling 410-544-7600. For fireplace sales and much more, you are also invited to stop by our new Complete Chimneys showroom located at 8174 Ritchie Highway, located in Pasadena MD.