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Fire Hazards

Spring brings with it the promise of rebirth and renewal. Students are looking forward to summer activities away from the routine of the school day, families plan vacations, and parents think about doing a deep down spring cleaning before these activities take place. It feels good to clean out closets and attics, get rid of items you haven’t used in years, rake the yard, open the windows and let the fresh air blow through. But there are some areas that it’s best to let the professionals clean. Two of those places are your fireplace and chimney system, and your dryer vents. The reason this is so important is that both of these places hold the potential for a home-threatening fire to break out.

Creosote Buildupfire

A major cause of chimney fires is creosote. As you burn wood in your fireplace, the moisture that is trapped in the wood is released, along with a wide variety of chemicals. As this travels up your chimney, it condenses and forms a layer of flammable material called creosote. All it takes is one little spark and you could have a full-fledged chimney fire.

When you think of a chimney fire, most often the thought that comes to mind is a full-fledged, roaring fire, with smoke and flames billowing out of the chimney. Sometimes this is the case. More often, however, the fire that occurs is small, often going completely unnoticed by the homeowner. This is because there isn’t usually enough airflow in your chimney to feed this type of fire. Because of this, most often a fire will burn itself out before you know it is happening. This is equally dangerous, because your chimney may have sustained damage and you don’t know to have it fixed. If the mortar is damaged, the gases that are produced through fire burning may be leaking back into your home, causing health issues for you, your family, and your pets.

Full Dryer Vents

Another common place for a house fire to begin is in your dryer vent. It’s common knowledge that you should clean out your dryer’s lint screen after every load or two of clothes that you dry, but this isn’t enough to keep your home safe from a dryer vent fire. Some of the lint that pulls off of your clothes gets through that lint screen no matter how often you clean it, and as it blows through the dryer vent, it can get caught along the sides, attracting even more lint with each load you dry. This lint buildup is also highly flammable, and a stray spark from your dryer could cause a devastating house fire.

Call Atlas Chimney

At Atlas Chimney, we have the qualified professionals and the tools to look deep into your chimney to discover any and all creosote that has built up and to remove this hazardous material. Not only are we chimney experts, but we are also dryer vent experts, too! Although it may seem like a simple job, we have the proper equipment to get the job done thoroughly and with less mess. Give us a call and let us take care of all your chimney and dryer vent cleaning needs!

All About Creosote

The last thing you want to deal with during fireplace season (or anytime, for that matter!) is a chimney fire. However, if you neglected to schedule a professional chimney sweeping before the arrival of cold weather, you may be in danger of this devastating event. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) states, dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires. Although soot and debris can lead to a chimney fire, the main cause of a chimney fire is creosote. Atlas Chimney would like to tell you more about creosote by answering some frequently asked questions.

All About Creosote - Austin TX - Atlas ChimneyHow does creosote form in my chimney?

Creosote is a natural result from the process of burning wood. As the byproducts of combustion like smoke, gases, water vapor, hydrocarbon, tar fog, unburned wood particles, and other assorted minerals leave the fireplace and flow up into the cooler upper walls of the chimney, condensation occurs. Creosote is the result of this condensation and forms a residue that sticks to the interior walls of your chimney.

What does creosote look like?

Varying in appearance, creosote is either black or brown. Its texture can be shiny and hard, crusty and flaky, or gummy and sticky. Atlas Chimney has seen all three different textures in the same chimneys.

Why is creosote so dangerous?

No matter what creosote looks like, it is always highly combustible. If you have large accumulations of creosote deposits in your chimney, a chimney fire can be easily ignited if the flue reaches a high enough temperature.

What encourages the accumulation of creosote?

You could have a restricted air supply by closing the glass doors and failing to open the damper wide enough. Since there will not be enough make-up air to quickly move heated smoke up the chimney, the smoke and other byproducts of combustion will stay longer inside the chimney to form more creosote. Cooler than normal chimney temperatures is another related factor that leads to large deposits of creosote accumulating in your chimney. If you burn unseasoned wood, you can also end up with large amounts of creosote. Since unseasoned wood has not been fully dried, your fire uses so much energy to burn off the water that is trapped in the logs. This results in cooler smoke going up the chimney, which is much more likely to produce a large amount of creosote.

Be sure your chimney is creosote-free and ready for fireplace season! Contact us at Atlas Chimney to schedule a professional chimney sweeping today.

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