Chimney fires are scary in so many ways that the temptation to avoid thinking about them is almost irresistible. There are, however, good and bad ways to avoid thinking about these potentially explosive and massively destructive events. Mostly forgetting about chimney fires and relying on divine interference is not ‘the good way’.
We Need Good Intelligence About Past Fires
A fire can occur in your chimney without you being aware of it. That is already a scary thought, but if you do not recognize the signs it leaves in your chimney, it gets even scarier. These signs are numerous and variable and help to explain the recommendation of annual inspections by certified sweeps.
Among the signs that at least one ‘minor’ chimney fire occurred without your awareness are “a discolored and/or distorted rain cap” and “cracks in exterior masonry”. These are so commonly seen by homeowners for other reasons that they tend to fade into the background and out of heightened awareness. Certified chimney sweeps need to inspect fireplace systems annually because their job is to see and recognize early warning signs.
Stay Vigilant But Go About Your Daily Lives
Obviously, chimney sweeps cannot protect your homes from chimney fires without your help. Cleanings of chimney cap screens are definitely helpful and should supplement annual inspections (which involve that) in either spring or fall. Seasoned wood is vital to chimney safety and beginning to season yours in spring is definitely helpful to winter safety.
It is equally obvious that continued vigilance is needed and we need you to say something if you see something. Please go to the link provided below and make a note of the signs that indicate there was a non-explosive fire in your chimney. There is simply no substitute for early detection and appropriate intervention by the professionals trained to handle it.