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Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from the Pros
Q: When should I have a chimney professional inspect my chimney?
A: If you are using the chimney to vent a fireplace, wood, coal or pellet stove or a gas or oil appliance, the flue should be inspected and cleaned, if needed, once a year. You should also have your chimney inspected if you know, or think, you have experienced a chimney fire. The sudden rise in temperatures within the flue associated with a chimney fire is often the main cause of tiles cracking. Because of this it is a good idea to have your chimney inspected after any chimney fire before you use that flue again.
Q: What causes chimney fires?
A: Chimney fires are usually caused by the accumulation of creosote in the chimney. Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood. It accumulates in the flue over time and is highly flammable. Creosote is especially likely to accumulate when wood is not burned at the proper temperature. Since creosote is flammable, when it accumulates on the walls of your flue, hot flue gasses can ignite it. The result is a chimney fire. Depending on the condition of your chimney, such a fire can pose a significant threat to the rest of your house. Flames from the fire can find their way through cracks in your clay chimney liner or mortar and ignite framing around the chimney. They can also spill over onto the roof and cause a fire there.
Q: How can I prevent chimney fires?
A: The best bet is to have a qualified chimney professional inspect your chimney annually. He or she will be able to detect the accumulation of creosote in your flue and remove it. Burning your fireplace or woodstove at proper temperatures will also help prevent the accumulation of creosote. Burning at lower temperatures, such as when you restrict your damper opening at night in order to make the fire last longer, allows creosote to form inside the flue of your chimney.
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