Are Sparks & Embers Coming
From Your Chimney?
You won’t always know if your chimney is sending fiery particles out of its top while you’re using your fireplace. But there are signs that this has been happening, and you should watch for them regularly.
National Chimney Services offers some useful information on what flying sparks and embers mean and what you should do about this problem.
Why stuff is exiting the top of your chimney
Either you have a mighty updraft happening in your fireplace/chimney system, or a chimney fire is occurring. Both situations need to be addressed, but the latter needs to be addressed now. A chimney inspection can identify the cause of the fire and the needed remediation.
Chimney fires often happen without the people in the home knowing about them. Two telltale aftermath signs include:
- Charred particles around the exterior chimney on the roof
- Dark, smudgy stains at the top of the exterior chimney
These signs will tell you a chimney fire (or many fires) has happened. The signs below indicate a chimney fire that is active:
- Clicking or tapping noises while the fireplace is in use
- A rumbling noise similar to a distant train during fireplace use
- Excess dark smoke coming from either end of the chimney
What to do if you’re having a chimney fire
First, call 911. Don’t attempt to deal with the fire on your own. Next, extinguish the fire in the fireplace if you can do so safely. Finally, remove all people and pets from the house and wait until the situation has been resolved before re-entering.
What all that’s done, call a licensed chimney inspector
What a chimney inspector will do
A reputable chimney inspector will look over your entire chimney system to determine:
- What caused the fire
- How much damage was done
- The specific location(s) of the damage
- What will be required to repair the damage and return the system to safety
It’s a good idea to have your chimney inspected once a year – fire or no fire. Following a chimney fire, an inspection is an absolute must.
The cause of most chimney fires
Most chimney fires in the U.S. each year are caused by creosote igniting in the flue. Creosote is a byproduct of smoke condensation that can be sticky, puffy, flakey or solid – and in all forms, it’s highly flammable.
You can’t keep from creating creosote when you use your wood-burning fireplace. But you can affect the amount of this substance that’s building up in your chimney. Here are the guidelines.
- Burn only dry (seasoned) wood, which is much less smoky than damp wood
- Burn only firewood – never burn clothing, pained boards, plastics, metals and other non-firewood materials as these create a lot of smoke and dangerous toxins
- Have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year – whether you think it needs it or not
Keeping your chimney clean and safe
If you’re seeing signs that sparks and embers are blowing out the top of your chimney, now is the time to take action to address the problem. Regular chimney cleaning and good burning practices on your part are the best things you can do to keep your chimney clean and safe.
For more than 20 years, National Chimney Service has helped our Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, customers keep on top of their chimney maintenance. We offer licensed inspections, chimney cleaning and a full menu of chimney repairs and rebuilding work.
Speak with a chimney expert today at 800-631-6177, or reach out through our handy contact form for professional chimney cleaning and inspection.