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For the Safety of Your Family

Chimney fires happen every year. Without proper maintenance old deposits of creosote hanging on the chimney walls can be ignited by heat and flames. When that first chilly day of the fall season sends you to build a cozy fire, you may get more than the toasty comfort you were after. It worked just fine last year – how could the chimney catch fire?

creosote in chimneyBurning wood releases hyrdro-carbon gases. At about 1,100 degrees, these hot gases mix with air and ignite. When fires are not kept hot enough, gases condense and deposit on stovepipes and flues as runny acids and liquid tars. This goo can run into cracks and completely coat the inside of the chimney. Creosote is formed as this hardens. Steam from green or wet wood combined with cool flues especially contribute to this potential condensation hazard. Tar-glaze creosote is the hottest-burning fuel for a chimney fire and the thicker the layer, the hotter the fire.

If the deposits are ignited, blast-furnace intensity can set into motion a chain of events hard-to-imagine. Masonry can expand with enough force to blow out chunks of the chimney, mortar can crumble allowing balls of flaming creosote to shoot out, clay flue liners can crack open and stainless liners can warp and separate. When any one of these conditions occur flame and spread to the roof and then the structure of the house.

To protect your family and property, schedule proper chimney maintenance. Michael's Clean Sweep can create a plan based on your home, chimney and usage that will give you peace of mind and a warm and toasty hearth.