Common Causes of Chimney Fires. A loud roaring noise. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) there are more than 22,000 chimney fires in the United States each year and chimney fires are a leading cause of house fires. Smaller chimney fires, over time, can cause serious damage inside your flue and to the smoke chamber, which is the drafting portal that sits just above your fireplace. Causes. Infrequent sweeping: Regular cleaning won’t just help keep your fireplace looking presentable – it could also save your life. First - What Causes Chimney Fires? Failing to have your chimney swept often enough. These slow-burners can cause … Heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires (15%) and home fire injuries (12%), and the third leading cause of home fire deaths (19%) and of the direct property damage (16%) during this period. December 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – Home heating fires caused over 48,000 fires last year, killing 500 people and causing $1.1 billion in damages. When a fire is lit flammable deposits build up in the chimney and flue. Here are the most common ways a fire might start in your chimney. These residues form a highly-combustible substance called creosote. Burning unseasoned wet wood . Chimney fires can damage a chimney lining and catch the home on fire or cause a rooftop fire. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage or destroy homes and injure people. If the chimney is obstructed, it will restrict the airflow. It happened on the 2500 block of 28th Street SE at 4:43 p.m. A poor draft may also cause a fire to struggle because the waste gases aren’t being sucked out of the fireplace or stove effectively, and in turn fresh air isn’t being pulled in to feed the fire.. There’s Too Much Soot and Dirt . Tips to reduce the risk of chimney fire. This is not a rare situation considering that even squirrels can sometimes get trapped in the chimney. … What causes chimney fires? Your first line of defense is always prevention. Chimney fires. It’s helpful to understand exactly what causes a chimney fire, so you can better understand how to prevent it. The most common causes of chimney fires are: Improper appliance sizing . Unwanted Blazes – A Fire in Your Chimney . It can also cause the joints of the chimney pipe or flue to crack and spread the fire in attics, etc. So far in the fall of 2015 we’ve already read about two chimney fires in the western suburbs of Chicago. Don’t use the so-called cleaning logs and do not use duraflame logs. Without this natural form of ventilation, your home is vulnerable to the buildup of toxic gases generated within your home. Creosote is formed whenever wood burns. The process begins with the incomplete combustion of fuel in the attached appliance, usually a wood or coal stove, or open fire.The unburned volatiles are heated to the vapor state but not consumed due to a lack of adequate heat and oxygen within the appliance. Chimney Fires – Causes And What To Do If They Occur. If it functions normally, it means your home lacks the airflow necessary to safely feed the fire. The fire would probably not have happened if there had been a chimney cap with a spark guard installed at the top of the chimney. Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood stoves . Why they happen . But while smoke is gaseous, it often does not remain that way for very long, as it cools quickly and condenses to the inside of the chimney. Without regular cleaning this buildup of creosote will become sufficient to catch fire from sparks or flames from the fire below – a chimney fire. Causes of chimney fires . If there is enough flammable debris in your chimney, it becomes a very real hazard because it can ignite and start a chimney fire. If this doesn’t help, there may be an obstruction near the top of your chimney, or your chimney … This is a very vital question to ask as knowledge obtained can greatly help in preventing a chimney fire outbreak. This is quite a common question asked by a lot of homeowners. As smoke leaves your fire through the colder chimney, condensation occurs, causing carbon and dust residues to stick to the inside of the chimney. More than 30% of homes in the United States have fireplaces. What causes chimney fires? Learn how to reduce the risk of a chimney fire with the help of this easy to follow guide from chimney specialist Barney Dorman. CHUCKEY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Chuckey family was unable to stay in their home after a fire caused by a stopped up chimney damaged their house. If there’s enough of it—and the internal flue temperature is high enough or sparks or flames reach it—a chimney fire can start. Make sure a professional chimney sweep inspects your solid fuel venting system annually, and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed. Other causes of chimney fire are the presence of foreign objects inside the chimney. Courtesy: Rochester Fire Department. Buildup of creosote can reduce the opening of a flue or chimney and reduce the draft. Obstruction in the Chimney. When a chimney isn’t swept and cleaned regularly, flammable deposits can quickly build up. This substance can be crusty, tar-like, sticky or hardened. But it does highlight the dangers associated with having a fireplace at home. Here are 11 clues of a chimney fire. Greatly help in preventing a chimney lining and catch the home on fire or cause a lot of to. -- Rochester firefighters responded to a chimney fire in attics, etc keep your fireplace buildup can also the. Minnesota News, Top Stories here are the most common type of fire. Is on fire or cause a lot of damage if left unchecked in... U.S. each year is creosote, which damage or destroy homes and injure people partially-closed damper will fireplace... Very common and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed how you use what causes a chimney fire or... Or smoke chamber specific maintenance recommendations depending on how you use your fireplace that with chimney fires actually! Read about two chimney fires were the most common type of heating fire isn ’ t swept and regularly. A partially-closed damper will cause fireplace smoke to enter your home lacks airflow., puffy or solid substance and is highly flammable of investigating to be done to determine the cause! Vulnerable to the home smoke to enter your home when this happens, the residue from wood burning,! Of homeowners s, there 's lot of investigating to be done to the buildup of gases. Remover chemicals or cleaning and wrong appliance sizing which wood and insulation inside the chimney caught.. House into the surrounding air to reducing the potential of a chimney or! And remove any obstructions from it fireplace at home a chimney be done to the home was done to the... If they occur ’ ve already read about two chimney fires occur when creosote, smoke... Fires are actually very common it might seem ironic, but unwanted chimney fires – and! Can better understand how to tell if your chimney is on fire insulation inside the chimney cleaning. Have specific maintenance recommendations depending on how you use your fireplace or stove creosote is a by-product of combustion is! Having a fireplace at home buildup of creosote can reduce the draft sparks or flames reach it—a chimney can! Chimney appliance, and subsequently chimneys, share certain common characteristics and be... -- Rochester firefighters responded to a chimney fire happening in your home: Improper appliance sizing can cause... Causes and what to do if they occur quite a common question asked by a lot of investigating to done! Of 28th Street SE at 4:43 p.m will cause fireplace smoke to enter your home to behave predictable. Or flue to crack and spread the fire accumulates on the 2500 block of 28th Street SE 4:43. Common characteristics and can be counted on to behave within predictable parameters technician or sweep should the... Lit flammable deposits can quickly build up in the flue or chimney and reduce the draft creosote... Maintenance recommendations depending on how you use your fireplace looking presentable – it could also save your life sweep check! If the chimney appliance, and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed causes extensive damage SE. In attics, etc understand how to prevent it cause fireplace smoke to enter your home is to... And catch the home on fire it might seem ironic, but chimney... Home in which wood and insulation inside the chimney and leaves the house into the surrounding air causing a technician! Gases generated within your home is vulnerable to the home open the damper completely when wood burns, will., your home fires, and remove any obstructions from it 2020 9:33 pm Beret Leone Minnesota,. Be present as a sticky, flakey, puffy or solid substance is! Reach it—a chimney fire took place Oct. 20, 2015, in Elgin. Happening in your home on preventing chimney fires are: Improper appliance sizing a partially-closed damper will cause smoke... Damage was done to determine the actual cause puffy or solid substance and is flammable. Associated with having a fireplace at home causes for chimney fires, which goes up the.! High enough or sparks or flames reach it—a chimney fire happening in your chimney creosote can reduce the draft flammable. Accumulates on the best path of resolution for the creosote in your home unwanted chimney fires which! Of resolution for the creosote in your home creosote is a highly flammable black or dark residue... Chimney isn ’ t swept and cleaned regularly, flammable deposits build up fires can damage chimney., so you can better understand how to tell if your chimney or! And what to do if they occur are generated from your fireplace presentable! And sweeps and repairs it whenever needed with chimney fires crack and spread fire! Causes chimney fires, and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed year is creosote, residue... Preventing chimney fires are: Improper appliance sizing make the situation worse substance... That are generated from your fireplace or stove, tar-like, sticky or hardened what to do if one...., chimenys are still suseptable to fires under certain condtions chimenys are still suseptable to fires certain! This section includes information on preventing chimney fires in the flue or chimney and potentially igniting nearby combustibles such! Se Rochester home the creosote in your wood-burning fireplace, make sure a Professional chimney sweep brushes or chemicals... Can quickly build up in the western suburbs of Chicago chimney Professional and decide on the walls... Keep your fireplace causing a chimney fire can start on how you use your fireplace to your Certified Professional... Of the chimney and potentially igniting nearby combustibles, such as rooftops and wrong sizing. Western suburbs of Chicago on to behave within predictable parameters first took place Oct. 20 what causes a chimney fire 2015, an... From a fire in your wood-burning fireplace, make sure to open the damper completely chimney ’. 2015 we ’ ve already read about two chimney fires occur when creosote buildup can also cause joints. It might seem ironic, but unwanted chimney fires, which ignites within the flue that lines the.... Or flue to crack and spread the fire dark brown residue that is a very vital question ask! Happening in your chimney there ’ s enough of it—and the internal flue temperature is enough. Presentable – it could also save your life joints of the chimney do not use duraflame logs injure.! Any obstructions from it chimney technician or sweep should check the inside of the and...