What to Do After a Chimney Fire
Having a chimney fire can be a scary experience, especially when it requires a first-alarm fire response to extinguish the flames leaping out of the chimney, as was the case recently at home in Amherst, NY. In addition, the internal masonry and components are not built to withstand the intense temperatures of a chimney fire. As a result, even a small fire can cause ‘hidden’ damage inside the flue. So, here’s what to do after there is a fire in your chimney:
Don’t Use the Fireplace or Stove
Avoid using the fireplace, stove, or any other attached heating appliance after a chimney fire until it has been inspected by Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney or your qualified local chimney professional to avoid further damage. Also, keep children and pets away from the fireplace to protect them from falling debris such as bricks, flue tiles, and other materials that the fire may have damaged.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
Immediately after a chimney fire, you must contact a Certified Chimney Professional® to examine the chimney, flue, and other sections for damage and other issues affecting its structural integrity as soon as possible. Our chimney professional will advise the type of inspection needed and provide written documentation and supporting images or videos detailing the examination findings and recommended repairs.
Contact your Homeowners’ Insurance Company
Your homeowners’ insurance policy may cover some or all the damage a chimney fire causes to your property, subject to policy limitations and exclusions. So, give your insurance agent or a public adjuster a call to file an insurance claim. Keep your chimney inspection documentation handy just in case there are any discrepancies after their claims adjustor examines your chimney.
Make Chimney Repairs Quickly
Chimney damage will continue to worsen until it is properly repaired. Failure to make repairs promptly could result in a higher repair bill if additional structural damage occurs. Remember that damage to bricks and mortar, flue liner, flashing, crown, and other components allows air and water to circulate inside the chimney. Thus, accelerating its deterioration. It is also a health hazard as it may create conditions for mold growth and attract disease-carrying pests, such as rats and mice.
How to Prevent a Chimney Fire
Fortunately, as a homeowner or fireplace enthusiast, there are many things you can do to prevent a chimney fire, including, but not limited to:
- Schedule an annual chimney inspection and cleaning with a Certified Chimney Sweep®.
- Only burn hardwoods that have been “seasoned” or dried for six to twelve months.
- Keep pets and combustible materials at least three feet away from the fireplace or stove.
- Install a chimney cap with a mesh screen and spark arrestor.
- Clean your firebox and dispose of excess ash monthly (or more often, depending on usage) during the burning season.
If your fireplace has an asphalt or other strange odor, extinguish the flames, and call your Chimney Professional to inspect and clean the chimney immediately.
Professional Chimney Inspection, Cleaning, & Repairs in Western New York
After a chimney fire, you must have a chimney inspection right away to determine if any damages or structural issues need repair, replacement, or rebuilding. Call Felgemacher Masonry and Chimney at 716-907-4914 or 585-308-4914 to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. You can also contact us online. Our certified professionals will also help you get the most out of the fireplace in your home and reduce energy costs.