Extinguish with Ease: How Do You Put Out a Chimney Fire Home Saving Tips

When a chimney fire strikes, you need actionable advice fast. This article isn’t just about how to put out a chimney fire; it’s about doing so with the safety of your home at the forefront. Count on quick, “how do you put out a chimney fire home saving tips” that will guide you through handling this emergency effectively. We’ll get you prepared with what to expect, and how to act, ensuring you have the knowledge to protect your household.

Key Takeaways

  • If you hear loud popping, see flames or excess smoke from your chimney, or smell burning, you’re likely facing a chimney fire.
  • To tackle a chimney fire, use a dry chem extinguisher or Chimfex flares and reduce oxygen by closing the damper and any air intakes.
  • Prevent chimney fires by burning seasoned wood, performing yearly maintenance, and following safe fireplace practices.

Recognizing a Chimney Fire

Illustration of a brick chimney with flames coming out of the top

How do you identify a chimney fire? It’s not as straightforward as most think. Some signs of a chimney fire include:

  • Loud cracking or popping noises, resembling an oncoming freight train
  • Discreet signs, barely noticeable
  • Consistent noise, a chimney fire is never silent.

The sight of flames or flaming creosote shooting from your chimney top is a glaring sign that your chimney is ablaze. Additionally, excessive dense smoke billowing from your chimney is a telltale sign of a fire. But what if the fire is not visible? A strong burning smell within your property should ring alarm bells. Always trust your senses; if something doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t.

Remember, most chimney fires are unpredictable. They can be as loud as a firecracker or as quiet as a whisper. But one thing’s for sure: they’re dangerous and can cause significant damage to your brick chimney if unrecognized and allowed to catch fire. That’s why it’s essential to involve the fire department or fire service when necessary.

What’s the next course of action if you encounter a chimney fire? Let’s consult the fire chief and proceed to discuss that.

Immediate Actions to Take During a Chimney Fire

Illustration of a person using a fire extinguisher on a chimney fire

In the event of a chimney fire, time is of the essence. Immediate action can make the difference between a small fire and a devastating house fire. In the following segments, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps and tools you might need to manage a chimney fire situation.

Using a Dry Chemical Extinguisher

When a chimney fire strikes, an ABC fire extinguisher, or a dry chemical extinguisher, can be a lifesaver. But how do you use it effectively? The answer lies in the technique. Aim short bursts at the fireplace grate or firebox, being careful not to disperse embers, which could create additional hazards.

However, bear in mind that a dry chemical extinguisher might not be able to fully put out a chimney fire. The high temperatures within the chimney can pose a challenge. However, these extinguishers, which contain a dry chemical extinguishing agent, can be used to help control the fire by introducing extinguishing chemicals into the chimney when there is a strong draft.

When using a dry chemical extinguisher, prioritizing safety is critical. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid spreading the fire or causing injury. In cases where a dry chem extinguisher isn’t available, this is when Chimfex flares become useful.

Utilizing Chimfex Flares

Chimfex flares are a type of chimney-specific fire suppressant, designed to control chimney fires. Using them is pretty straightforward. During a chimney fire, all you need to do is toss them into the firebox of the chimney.

How do they function? Once lit, Chimfex flares emit smoke and particles that replace oxygen in the flue, successfully suffocating the fire. It’s a simple yet effective way to handle a chimney fire.

Yet, your arsenal isn’t limited to just Chimfex flares and dry chemical extinguishers. Sometimes, the solution lies in something as simple as controlling the airflow.

Closing the Damper and Airflow Control

The damper in your chimney, positioned above the fire box, plays a crucial role in regulating the airflow within the flue. During a chimney fire, controlling the airflow effectively involves closing the damper, which reduces the oxygen supply to the fire.

But there’s more to it. Besides closing the damper, it’s recommended to close any air intake vents to further restrict the air supply during a chimney fire. By reducing the fire’s oxygen supply, you can limit the spread of the chimney fire, contributing to its suppression.

When the fire is under control, it’s time to assess the damage. This segues us into the following segment.

Post-Fire Chimney Inspection and Cleaning

After a chimney fire, the first thing on your to-do list should be a thorough inspection. This is crucial for assessing the extent of the damage caused by the fire. What should be the focus of your inspection?

Signs of a slow-burning chimney fire, like grey creosote on the chimney walls or discolored chimney components, may require professional attention. You should also be on the lookout for potential damage such as cracked chimney structures, roof damage, and burning creosote deposits found outside the chimney.

Once you’ve assessed the damage, the chimney must be cleaned to remove creosote buildup, ensuring its safety and proper function before it can be used again. It is crucial to have your chimney inspected during this process, as technicians will also check for other issues such as faulty dampers or flue and liner blockages which can impede chimney operation. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to prevent chimney fires from happening at all? Let’s delve into that prospect.

Preventing Future Chimney Fires

Prevention is better than cure, and chimney fires are no exception. With a few simple practices and proper maintenance, you can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing a chimney fire.

Let’s examine the specifics.

Choosing the Right Wood

The kind of wood you burn in your fireplace can influence your risk of a chimney fire. Dry, seasoned wood is the best choice as it minimizes creosote accumulation in the chimney, which reduces the risk of chimney fires. What defines seasoned wood though?

Seasoned wood is wood that has been dried for at least six months, stored off the ground, and covered on the top to ensure a moisture content of less than 20%. This makes it suitable for safe burning, such as burning wood in a fireplace or stove.

However, not all seasoned wood is of the same quality. For optimal burning efficiency and safety, a mixture of seasoned hard and soft woods is recommended for use in fireplaces. Choosing the right wood is only a part of the solution. Regular chimney maintenance is also a vital aspect.

Regular Chimney Maintenance

Regular chimney maintenance is an essential part of preventing chimney fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends an annual chimney inspection to ensure safe operation and identify any repairs or cleaning needed. Why does this matter so much?

Regular chimney inspections can prevent fires by identifying high levels of soot and creosote buildup, other blockages, or any structural damage requiring timely repairs. Annual cleaning by a professional chimney sweep is also crucial for preventing creosote build-up, a leading cause of chimney fires.

Keep in mind, inspections are required even if the fireplace isn’t frequently used. Blockages due to animal nests or unseen structural damage can occur regardless of frequency of use. In addition to regular maintenance, proper fireplace use is key to preventing chimney fires.

Proper Fireplace Use

Proper fireplace use is paramount to preventing chimney fires. From the materials used for ignition to the placement of furniture, every detail matters. Let’s examine some critical guidelines for appropriate fireplace usage.

Firstly, only use newspaper, dry kindling, and natural fire starters for ignition. Avoid flammable liquids to prevent rapid flare-ups and maintain safety. Secondly, never leave a fire unattended, avoid overloading the fireplace, and store ashes in a non-combustible container with a tight lid away from the house.

Proper airflow is key when starting a fire in a wood stove. Here are some tips to achieve an efficient, hot fire with minimal smoke:

  • Adjust air controls to maintain controlled flames, which helps minimize creosote deposits.
  • Build hot fires that are safe and efficient rather than smoldering ones to reduce smoke production.
  • Use the right amount of quality firewood.
  • Employ correct fire-building techniques.

By following these tips, you can ensure proper air flow and enjoy a clean-burning fire.

Lastly, keep flammable materials like furniture, curtains, and rugs away from the fireplace to prevent accidental chimney fires.


Over the course of this blog post, we’ve covered everything from recognizing a chimney fire to taking immediate action, post-fire inspection and cleaning, and finally, prevention. The key takeaway is that chimney fires can be dangerous, but with the right knowledge and precautions, they can be avoided or managed effectively.

Always remember, prevention is the best course of action. Regular maintenance, correct burning practices, and vigilance can go a long way in ensuring the safety of your home and loved ones. So, go ahead, enjoy the warmth of your fireplace, but always keep safety at the forefront.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I identify a chimney fire?

If you hear loud cracking or popping noises from the chimney, see flames or flaming creosote coming out, notice dense smoke, or smell a strong burning odor inside, it could be a chimney fire. Take immediate action to address it.

What immediate actions should I take during a chimney fire?

In case of a chimney fire, prioritize safety by evacuating everyone and calling 911. Then, attempt to control the fire using a dry chemical extinguisher or Chimfex flares, while also limiting the fire's oxygen supply by closing the damper and air intake vents.

What should I do after a chimney fire?

After a chimney fire, conduct a thorough inspection to assess the damage and then clean the chimney to remove creosote buildup. This will ensure its safety before using it again.

How can I prevent future chimney fires?

To prevent future chimney fires, make sure to choose the right wood for burning, conduct regular chimney maintenance, and use the fireplace correctly. These steps can help keep your chimney safe and prevent potential fires.

What is the importance of regular chimney maintenance in preventing chimney fires?

Regular chimney maintenance is crucial in preventing chimney fires because it helps identify and address soot buildup, blockages, and structural damage that could lead to fires. It's important to stay ahead of these issues to ensure the safety of your home and family.