How To Clean Up After A Chimney Fire

Friday 20th January 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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fire coming from chimney CONTENTS

 

Every year there are approximately 7000 chimney fires in England. These largely preventable fires can not only cause serious damage to your chimney, they could lead to a house fire, too.

At ICE Cleaning, our fire damage cleaning specialists can make your home safe following a chimney fire. Our technicians can remove all traces of soot and neutralise any lingering unpleasant odours. They can be on site in a matter of hours in an emergency.

Keep reading to find out what to do after a chimney fire in your property.

What is a chimney fire?

A chimney fire is the combustion of soot on the inner surfaces of a chimney. The signs of a chimney fire include seeing flames and sparks coming out the top of your chimney, and hearing a roaring or cracking noise.

Most are caused by debris like tar, ash, creosote, and bird nests blocking the chimney. Should you not have the chimney swept properly, the debris could ignite from a single spark. There are several other causes, too:

  • If you burn unseasoned or wet wood, it is more likely to sizzle on a fire and often creates more smoke and creosote because of its high levels of moisture.
  • You must never leave a fire unattended for long periods of time as the smoke and gases cannot escape quickly, and tar and creosote can build up in the chimney.
  • Some large appliances cannot reach the temperatures needed to volatilise the fuel in the wood, so any unburned fuel will pass up the flue and condense as creosote.

What damage can a chimney fire cause?

Chimney fires are very dangerous, with the high temperatures potentially reaching 1100°C. This intense heat might cause the chimney to expand, potentially causing plaster to crack and blow, and leading to structural damage. In some cases, the masonry will need to be repaired or rebuilt.

Cracks in your chimney might also let smoke enter your property, causing smoke damage. Our technicians can provide smoke damage cleaning services to remove the smoke odour and hazardous soot, and make it safe to stay in your home, again.

The fire might produce carbon monoxide, too. This colourless, odourless gas may cause serious health problems if you inhale it.

Chimney fires can easily and rapidly spread to other parts of the home. A fire inside a masonry chimney, for example, could cause tiles to crack and mortar to be displaced, allowing the flames to reach the wood framing of the house.

Should you clean up chimney fire damage yourself?

You must never attempt to clean up any fire damage, no matter how small the fire was. It makes properties dangerous environments as the soot left behind can contain many toxins, like ammonia and asbestos.

Without fire restoration experience, you also might make it worse. Simply rubbing soot, for example, might ground the stain deeper into the material. It is likely that you will not thoroughly tackle all affected areas, either, and might leave some soot behind.

Chimney fire damage is more difficult to clean up, as well, because it is hard to reach the inside of the chimney without specialist equipment. Only professional chimney sweeps and cleaners will have the experience, tools, and cleaning products to make the affected area hazard-free.

What should you do after a chimney fire?

Don’t use the chimney until it has been inspected by a certified chimney sweep. They will assess the level of damage and make specific recommendations on the repairs and clean up required.

It may require a range of services, such as chimney sweeping, creosote removal, flue tiles repair or replacement, chimney relining, and masonry and chimney rebuilding. A chimney mason will be required for reconstruction jobs.

If the fire spread to the rest of your property, only re-enter your home when you have been told it is safe to do so. Then, contact professional cleaners to clean up the fire and smoke damage to make sure you can stay in it. You can find out more about what to do after a house fire in this blog.

Get in touch

Our technicians are available to provide a stress-free, rapid service to restore your property 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They can also offer the additional services often required after a fire, like mould remediation and fire smoke odour removal.

Contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk for a free site survey and no-obligation quote for our fire cleaning services.

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