Asked by: Mher Rumelin
home and garden home appliances

What causes wood stove chimney fires?

Last Updated: 26th January, 2020

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Most chimney fires are quiet and slow burning. Quiet, slow-burning chimney fires are usually caused by either a stray spark or high temperatures that ignite creosote buildup in the chimney. Creosote is a highly combustible substance that often looks sticky and tar-like. It is produced by burning wood.

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Similarly one may ask, what is the main cause of chimney fires?

The main culprit of chimney fires is creosote. If the temperature in the chimney flue (the space inside the chimney) is high enough, and the creosote build-up thick enough, creosote can catch fire—and that fire can spread and move up the flue.

Also, how do you stop a chimney fire? A few simple ways to help prevent a chimney fire are outlined below.

  1. Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected Annually.
  2. Build Small Fires.
  3. Use Seasoned Wood.
  4. Never Use Paper or Combustible Liquids in the Fireplace.
  5. Use a Chimney Liner.
  6. Install a Chimney Cap.
  7. Ensure Good Air Supply.

Likewise, people ask, what are the signs of a chimney fire?

Common Signs of Chimney Fires

  • Puffy Creosote Deposits. When creosote burns, the deposits expand and leave a puffy residue.
  • Distorted or Discolored Rain Cap or Damper.
  • Damaged Flue Tiles.
  • Roof Damage & Residue.
  • Visible Cracks in the Exterior Masonry.
  • Scorched Areas of the Flue.
  • #1.
  • #2.

Will a chimney fire burn itself out?

Any combustion will cease when all the available fuel has been consumed. A flue fire will be extinguished when there is nothing left to burn. Flue fires rapidly reach temperatures in excess of 2000° F. The thermal shock caused by this rapid escalation of temperature will damage ceramic or clay flue liners.

Related Question Answers

Telm Sedes

Professional

How do I prevent creosote buildup in my chimney?

How to Minimize Creosote Buildup & Prevent a Chimney Fire
  1. Only burn dry, seasoned firewood.
  2. Never burn artificial logs.
  3. Build hot, clean burning fires.
  4. Make sure the fire gets enough oxygen.
  5. Reduce condensation by warming up a cold flue.
  6. Schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection.

Yuhan Pinheiro

Professional

How can I tell if my chimney needs cleaning?

The following signs indicate a chimney in need of a cleaning:
  1. Burned wood odors coming from the fireplace when it's not being used.
  2. Fires that seem to burn poorly or that dump a bunch of smoke into the room.
  3. A black damper. Since it sits right above the firebox, the damper is often the easiest thing to see and reach.

Jessia Tikhin

Professional

How often should you have your chimney cleaned?

How Often Should I get my Chimney Cleaned? This depends a lot on how much you use your fireplace or stove. The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.

Rona Versteegh

Explainer

Will a hot fire remove creosote?

A hot fire will burn out any creosote that may have formed overnight. They either burned the creosote before it could accumulate or kept the chimney temperature above 250ºF so that the smoke escaped without its gases condensing. The burn was controlled by the amount of wood in the stove.

Corrin Monjo

Explainer

Does a chimney fire clean the chimney?

Luckily, chimney fires are almost entirely preventable with regular maintenance – a clean chimney simply cannot catch fire. Having a yearly chimney sweeping will remove any creosote buildup in the flue. A low temperature fire is often the result of incomplete combustion which creates large amounts of creosote.

Viola Fita

Explainer

How long does it take creosote to build up?

It typically takes between six months and one year for cut wood to get to a low moisture content. Do not burn artificial packaged logs in your fireplace or your woodstove, since they leave a large amount of creosote deposits.

Odilio Da Vila

Pundit

How do you get rid of creosote?

The solution to getting creosote out of your chimney depends on the severity of the problem. Liquid, powder or sprays can be applied directly to a fire or to wood in your fireplace to break down creosote into ash, which can be then swept out with the help of a chimney sweep brush.

Rajendra Gandarias

Pundit

Can a brick chimney catch fire?

Chimney liners or structural problems can allow high temperatures, sparks and embers to escape to combustible areas in walls, roofs or attics. A common cause of chimney fires is creosote inside the chimney catching fire and burning inside the chimney.

Jaganatha Yahaya

Pundit

What to do if chimney goes on fire?

What to do if you have a chimney fire
  1. Call the fire brigade - 999.
  2. If you have a stove then shut all air vents and flue dampers to reduce the chimney fire's oxygen supply.
  3. If you have an open fire then gently splash water on it to extinguish the fire.
  4. Move flammable materials, furniture, ornaments away from the fireplace.

Areli Lindote

Pundit

How do I know if my chimney needs a liner?

How can I tell if my chimney has a liner? You can have it inspected by a chimney professional; or, if you're able, you can go up on the roof and check it out yourself. If you look down into your chimney and see only bricks and no clay tile, it is not lined.

Walfrido Aio

Pundit

Does burning salt clean a chimney?

Sodium Chloride
Put a little salt in the fire while it is burning. The salt combines with the water in the burning wood to create a weak acid that travels up the chimney and dissolves small amounts of creosote. This method should be used with care, however.

Estefani Trigg

Teacher

How dangerous is a cracked chimney flue?

Cracked tiles can lead to dangerous gas leakage allowing carbon monoxide to seep into the home's interior. It can also allow deadly heat transfer to combustible materials in the surrounding areas increasing the risk of home fire. Cracked tiles often occur when heat is not evenly disbursed throughout the chimney.

Hafsa Aicheler

Teacher

Can I clean my chimney myself?

In many cases, you can clean the chimney yourself and save a few hundred dollars. Removing ordinary chimney soot is pretty simple. But if you have heavy creosote buildup, you'll have to call in a pro. Otherwise, hire a certified chimney sweep.

Narciso Paretas

Teacher

Do Duraflame logs clean chimney?

In fact, tests show that a duraflame® firelog has 66% less creosote accumulation per hour of fire than the creosote accumulation from burning a wood fire. Nevertheless, we recommend you have a certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney on an annual basis and clean it if necessary, no matter what you burn.

Emanuela Gabrieli

Teacher

Can you pour water on a fire in a fireplace?

While water can be used to put out a fireplace fire, it's not recommended. Not only does it take a lot of water to put the fire out completely, it also creates a huge mess that will need to be cleaned up later. In fact, trying to put out a fire like you would for an outdoor fire may give you the opposite results.

Cassidy Kata

Reviewer

How do I know if I have creosote buildup?

Signs of Creosote Build-Up
  1. Reduced drafting in fireplace.
  2. Less ash and more wood in fireplace after a fire.
  3. Black soot in and around fireplace.
  4. Very dark smoke from chimney.
  5. You can visibly see more than 1/8 of an inch of soot build-up.

Arthur Milnikel

Reviewer

How often should you burn a creosote log?

Hirsch says homeowners should ideally burn one creosote log for every 60 fires in order to reduce creosote buildup in the chimney flu.

Jackson Knake

Reviewer

Why do houses have chimneys but no fireplace?

There are several reasons why a house could have a chimney without having a fireplace. The original brick utility chimney has been reused as the last part of the flue assembly for a newer gas furnace. If you look in the furnace closet, you will see the metal flue from the furnace entering the side of the brick chimney.

Laverne Larrinzar

Reviewer

How often should a wood burning stove chimney be swept?

If you are burning wood, ensure your chimney is swept at least twice a year; this can be reduced to once if you are using multi-fuel in your stove.