Chimney fires are incredibly scary and happen more than most people think. These fires can be explosive or they can smolder, undetectably, for days. While these fires are certainly dangerous, the good news is that they are easily preventable. By working with a chimney sweep in Alpharetta, GA, it is possible to keep your chimney in good working order and fire free. If, however, this news has come a bit too late, we want to relay some advice on how to recover from a chimney fire.
Step 1: Acceptance
We cannot overstate that the most important step in recovering from a chimney fire is recognizing there has been one. As previously stated, there may never be flames or even noticeable smoke, so homeowners will have to look for other clues. Most chimney fire evidence involves a substance called creosote. Creosote is the black or brown by-product of combustion that coats the inside of a chimney. Creosote may be flaky and crusty, or it may be tar-like and drip down the sides of the chimney chute. If the creosote coating the chimney looks like the outside of an over roasted marshmallow, the chance is pretty good that there has been a chimney fire. Other creosote-related evidence of a chimney fire is if someone finds it on the roof or ground, or the roof has been mysteriously damaged. Other signs of chimney fires include damage to the flue, rain cap, TV antenna, and/or masonry.
Step 2: Ask for Help
Upon discovering evidence of a chimney fire, it is extremely important to call a certified sweep to come assess the damage. If the damage from the chimney fire is not attended to, another fire could start, or the chimney/fireplace could malfunction in a number of other ways. We want to be clear that malfunctioning fireplaces can often be deadly.
Step 3: Gather Information
When the chimney sweep arrives, he or she will do an assessment of the damage and recommend the appropriate course of action. In many cases, the sweep will do an external evaluation of the damage and may also use a camera to get a better look inside the chimney chute. Depending on the damage caused by the fire, the fix may be as easy as replacing a rain cap or as involved as completely replacing the chimney and the chase. Common repairs we often have to make after a chimney fire include replacing flue tiles, patching masonry, and rebuilding masonry. Only a certified sweep will be able to tell how much work needs to be done.
Step 4: Act
If the sweep believes there has been a chimney fire, it is probably a good idea to call the responsible homeowner’s insurance company. While chances are that damage caused by chimney fires is covered, there are always exceptions to the rule. If an insurance adjuster says there is nothing the company can do, we recommend going over the policy personally before giving up.