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If you have a fireplace, wood burning stove or insert, you most likely have creosote build-up in your chimney. As wood burns, the combustion process produces solid byproducts that build up in your chimney or flue pipe as a black, sticky layer that is highly combustible. Without regular maintenance this combustible material ” creosote ” will eventually block the flue preventing proper drafting and may even cause a chimney fire.

All chimneys that connect to appliances that burn fuel and are vented to the outdoors are required by NFPA 211 to be inspected annually and cleaned when needed. This is a recognized national standard.

Practicing Fireplace safety is one of the best things you can do to prevent long term or serious damage to your home.

Chimney Fire Prevention

Many things can go wrong with chimneys; from holes in the mortar, cracks in the lining, deterioration due to exposure to weather, etc. The cause of most chimney fires is creosote which is a by-product resulting from the incomplete combustion of wood. It accumulates on the sides of your chimney as a liquid and later condenses into a solid. As it builds up it not only blocks the flue, but can ignite into a roaring fire. These fires can be prevented by making sure your flue is lined and in good condition,and that the fireplace is not cracked or damaged by having it inspected and cleaned regularly. A chimney fire may not sound like much of a risk or much of a problem. After all, the chimney is well insulated. It may seem unlikely that the fire will get to the rest of the house if it even gets started in the first place. But dirty chimneys are susceptible to fires that, at their worst, can destroy homes and kill the inhabitants.Chimney fires can catch on explosively, shooting flames and dense smoke out the top. Or they can be slow-burning and barely noticeable until they’ve gotten hot enough to damage the chimney irreparably and even catch your house on fire. In this area the smoke and hot gasses gather before they are sucked up the flue and outside the chimney. If this area has any gaps or breaks or is damaged in any way, it could potentially keep those gasses in the chamber, allowing them to come back into the home and not up the flue. Parging a smoke chamber is the process of making sure the inside surfaces are sealed with a layer of mortar to close off any breaks or gaps so nothing escapes anywhere except up the flue. If you use your fireplace or appliance on regular basis, we strongly recommend cleaning of the chimney flue at least once a year during annual chimney inspection. Our staff here at Alamo Chimney Sweepers is well trained and qualified to inspect or clean your chimney and to identify any potential problems. [ FEMA.GOV ]

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