chimney fire
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What is a chimney fire?

Frequently I get the question: what is a chimney fire like? Half of them sound like a freight train, the other half are slow rumblers that residents often cannot hear.

Burning Practices:

Make sure you are burning dried-seasoned wood and that you’re having your chimney inspected annually and cleaned if need. Never burn pizza boxes, pine branches, newspapers, or gift wrapping as these things are prone to igniting a chimney fire.

If you can observe a fair amount of creosote inside of your chimney, this is usually an indication a chimney fire has occurred. Because Creosote is also highly flammable, if you can see or smell a heavy creosote build-up, do not use that fireplace until it’s been properly inspected, swept, and serviced.

During a chimney fire, the temperature in the fireplace flue can exceed 2,000 degrees. As a result it can ignite combustibles adjacent to the chimney.

What is a sudden occurrence?

Most folks’ insurance policies cover such occurrences, and a chimney professional must try to help homeowners to make the insurance process go as smoothly as possible. My number one recommendation when it comes to insurance claims. No matter what kind of insurance, document everything at the very beginning of the process. Be sure your insurance gives you a claim number. You need to be sure to document the date it occurred. Also, the name of the professional(s) who came to your home to evaluate the situation. The date(s) the professional evaluated the situation. Your professional should also be doing some documentation as well.

Damaged brick exterior due to lightning strike
Damage due to lightning strike

Most insurance policies do not cover normal wear and tear of the chimney. For example, deterioration over many years. Fire is only supposed to be contained within the firebox of your chimney. When the fire escapes this area, it often causes vertical cracks in the flue tiles of a chimney. This is referred to as a hostile or a unfriendly fire. This can also lead to warping a stainless steel liner, and cause other damage to the chimney and home in general.

Documenting Sudden Occurrences:

Documenting your claim on a large, roaring chimney fire is easy. Seeing that the fire department must be called. What about slow-burning chimney fires? Most homeowners are not even aware it occurred until a chimney sweep comes out and tells them.

Remember, it is not the chimney professional’s job to defend the homeowner’s claim. However we are to review and document our observable facts and provide documentation that others could not do.

Call out one or more professionals if you suspect a sudden occurrence has taken place; they can almost always make the insurance claim process less of a hassle.

Furthermore, to further prevent chimney fires, please take the time to share this video with one or two of your friends! Greatly appreciated, Clay Lamb, your Cincinnati Chimney Sweep!

Therefore, if you still have questions about water problems, check out our Ask the Chimney Blogs!

Schedule with us to get your chimney problems repaired today!