Warning Signs

What are the signs of a chimney fire?

Some chimney fires will go unnoticed by homeowners and will extinguish themselves after a few seconds or minutes. Other more noticeable fires usually have a popping sound like you would hear with wood burning in a fireplace, only much louder. Additionally, there have been reports of a low, rumbling sound emitting from the chimney during fires. Visually, you may be able to see flames or thick smoke being emitted from your chimney even after the fire in the firebox has already been extinguished. Regardless of which characteristics of a chimney fire become apparent the best course of action to take is to immediately get out of the house and call the fire department. If you can do so safely, it is also a good idea to start spraying down the roof of your home with a garden hose to keep the fire from spreading. After the fire has been completely extinguished it is important to get a chimney inspection as soon as possible to determine if there is any structural damage or to clean out any creosote that may still be left after the fire.

What are the signs of excess Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is the by product of incomplete combustion. Regardless of whether the fuel being burned is wood, natural gas or oil, carbon monoxide can be a serious threat to the occupants of a home. Becuase carbon monoxide cannot be detected by a person until symptoms of poisoning start to set in, the gas can quickly build up in a house without the residents even realizing it. Mild carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms often resemble the flu and could be overlooked as a result. Acute carbon monoxide poisoning will lead too dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and death within about three minutes to two hours, depending on the levels. The best defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is a carbon monoxide detector and a chimney inspection to investigate any blockage that may be stopping the proper flow of gases from a home.

My chimney smells bad, especially in the summer after it rains. Why?

Chimney odors in the spring and summer months are aggravated by the increased heat and humidity associated with this time of year, specifically just after a rain storm. An odor coming from your chimney typically is either a dead animal or an excess build up of creosote. Regardless of which one it is you should get your chimney inspected as soon as possible in order to identify the odor and eliminate the problem. If the problem is creosote a chimney cleaning may not get rid of the odor entirely. When creosote forms it will absorb into the masonry of the fireplace and is difficult to get out at that point. The next best alternative to eliminating odor in a chimney is to stop it before it comes into your house. A damper located at the throat of the fireplace is an effective impediment to air flowing from a chimney into the rest of a home.