Have you ever been outside during the winter, looked up, and noticed sparks or embers coming out of your chimney? We hope not, as it’s not a common occurrence. However, assuming you see that happening, is it a problem? Better yet, if it is a problem, how should you fix your chimney in this situation? Today, let’s discuss what to do if sparks are coming out of your chimney.
First, are sparks coming out of your chimney a problem?
Before we answer that question, we should clarify what we mean by sparks or embers. Simply put, an ember is a burnt piece of coal or wood, depending on which you use as a heating source.
That’s it. Sounds pretty simple, right? So, if your fireplace burns those materials, and embers are just small pieces of burnt material, logically it doesn’t sound like there’s a problem at all.
While we appreciate the logic behind that reason, the opposite is true. If you see sparks, embers, or dense, black smoke coming out of your chimney at any time, it’s a sign of a major problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
If possible, immediately extinguish the fire and contact emergency personnel right away.
Why are spark and embers a problem?
If that sounds intense, it’s because it is. Sparks, embers, and dark smoke are telltale signs of a chimney fire. It’s safe to assume that if you see any of these coming out of your chimney, you have a fire on your hands.
For a little bit of background, most chimney fires start with an excessive creosote buildup. Creosote is the remnants of combustible materials that you use in your fireplace. Wood with a higher moisture content can contribute to excessive creosote development, which is why it’s always a good idea to only use dry, seasoned wood.
Even products such as artificial logs that you buy at local retail stores can contribute to creosote buildup. Over time, if not properly removed, a dense layer of creosote will start to form along the walls of your flue. The thicker it becomes and the longer it’s left in place, the higher your risk of starting a chimney fire.
What to do if sparks are coming out of your chimney
First and foremost, immediately vacate the structure. Get your family to safety before you do anything else.
Next, call emergency services to request professional assistance dealing with the fire.
If possible, as we mentioned you can try to put out the fire yourself. Shutting air vents can help reduce the intensity of the fire. If it’s relatively small still, you may consider moving valuables away from the chimney. Use a fire extinguisher if it seems reasonable to do so. Otherwise, don’t risk it — vacate the premises and wait for the fire department to arrive. Safety is your priority here.
Ongoing chimney maintenance to prevent sparks and embers
The key to preventing chimney fires is proactive maintenance. Regular chimney sweeps, inspections, and dealing with any structural issues immediately can minimize your risk of creosote buildup turning into a house fire.
If you’d like to schedule an inspection, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’ll schedule a time to visit your home and let you know if your fireplace is safe to use this season. And, if it needs any type of maintenance, we’ll gladly help you with that process too.
Chimney Solutions Indiana
This post first appeared on https://www.mychimney.com