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Chimney Fires are dangerous and often destroy entire homes. The need to clean your chimney every year by a professional is imperative. Your life might depend on it. So call us today

What is a chimney fire?

It is a fire inside the flue (chimney) of your fireplace system. It is in an area of your chimney that is not built or meant to contain a fire. The firebox is the only area of your fireplace system constructed to handle a normal fire at normal operating temperatures, about 650 degrees.

It is a violent event that happens to your home. It is due to a dirty chimney that is not maintained, or cleaned out, as it should be on a regular basis. The soot builds up in the flue system of your fireplace by gradually collecting on the sides each time you have a fire. Sooner or later it can ignite and catch fire if too large of a fire is built in the firebox, a hot fire for extended periods of time, trash or paper is burned giving off a large amount of quick heat, a large amount of soot build up or other factors. Temperatures during a chimney fire in the system can reach in excess of 1,800 degrees in a quick period of time. This is what causes the damage to the interior portions of the chimney. The rapid expansion of the flue tiles cannot keep up and mortar joints and tiles crack.

How do I know if I have a chimney fire?

It is possible to have a chimney fire and not know it, but this is a rare situation.

Chimney fires make a very distinctive sound in your home unlike any you have heard. People have described them sounding like:

  • "A jet plane flying over".
  • "A loud roaring noise".
  • "A vacuum cleaner in the chimney".
  • But the best description to me is "that it sounded like I was going down the interstate and suddenly rolled down my window."

Either description you pick I think you get the idea.

On the outside of the home at the top of the chimney you may find darker than normal smoke and excessive embers. It may even melt the chimney cap, crack the exterior of the chimney, melt roofing material, and introduce a large amount of embers on the roof or in the gutters. In the worst cases smoke may be inside the home or coming from the mortar joints in the chimney.

Debris may fall into the firebox and look like large black puffy rice crispy treats. The only thing that can make soot puff up in this form is extreme flue temperatures created by chimney fires.

What do I do if I have a chimney fire?

Most important thing to remember is get everyone out of the house as soon as possible and then call the fire department.

Activate your home fire escape plan and make sure everyone is at a pre-designated meeting point. REMEMBER that material things are replaceable but you are not.

Only if you can do so without risk to yourself you can attempt these additional steps:

  • Put a chimney fire extinguisher into the fireplace.
  • Close glass doors on the fireplace.
  • Close air inlets on wood stove.
  • Wet the roof and gutters (that may contain debris) with a hose until the fire department arrives.

Once it is over call a CSIA certified chimney sweep to complete a Level 2 inspection on the system.

Notify your insurance agent of the situation since it is normally covered under homeowners insurance. That also includes the chimney sweeps fees.

How can I avoid a chimney fire?

Have your chimney inspected each year and swept when needed. This by itself will greatly reduce the chances of a chimney fire.

When you burn wood use only dried/cured hardwood. (See section on firewood)

Keep the fire reasonable in size. A residential fireplace is not build to handle extreme heat. A good rule-of-thumb is while looking at the fireplace if you cannot see the top of the flame or if the flame is passing through the damper the fire is too big. Three is an average number of logs in a standard fireplace.

Never burn trash, paper, or cardboard boxes in a fireplace, only wood. Fire departments run several chimney fires on Christmas Day due to people burning wrapping paper


Locations We Service

The Chimney Man is a Full-Service Chimney Sweep Company
Serving the NJ, NY and PA. areas.

Some locations available for service but not limited to:

Frenchtown, NJ, Bridgewater, NJ, Plainfield, NJ, Flemington, NJ, Clinton, NJ, Somerville, NJ, Asbury, NJ, Washington, NJ, Oxford, NJ, Hackettstown, NJ, Belvidere NJ, Princeton NJ, Old Bridge NJ, Point Pleasant, NJ, Belmar, NJ, Red Bank, NJ, Hillsborough, NJ, New Brunswick, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Staten Island, NY, New York City, NY, Middlesex NJ, Easton, PA, New Hope, PA, Puxatony, PA, Nazareth, PA, Riegelsville, PA, Allentown, PA, Upper Black Eddy, PA, Kintnersville, PA

Please email if you are interested in services in your location
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