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How do I prevent chimney fires?

Troubleshooting Your Fireplace

There could be many reasons that your fireplace isn’t functioning correctly, and we want to help you solve the problem. Below is a list of potential issues and their respective solutions. Note that this list of problems/solutions is simplified, and a correct understanding of fireplaces requires an expert-level knowledge of airflow patterns.

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The job of the chimney is to efficiently carry flue gases from your fireplace out of your home. Something that many homeowners don’t often consider is the potential for chimney fires. In fact, most chimney fires go undetected. Slow-burning chimney fires don’t generate enough heat to be noticeable until a later inspection, but the damage can be severe.

Dirty chimneys cause chimney fires. Your best defense against a chimney fire is a regular inspection and sweeping.

The Chimney Safety Institute says that the following are the nine most common signs that you’ve had a chimney fire:

  • “Honeycombed” creosote

  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote

  • Warped metal of the damper

  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles

  • Discolored/damaged rain cap

  • Cracks in exterior masonry

  • Creosote pieces found on the roof or ground

  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry liners

  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney

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