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What’s Blocking Your Chimney?

It's important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it's already there.

It’s important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it’s already there.

While everyone loves a fire in his or her fireplace, no one wants a fire in his or her chimney. Unfortunately, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimney fires are more common than you may think, and sometimes you do not even know they have occurred. A dirty chimney is the most likely cause of all chimney fires, and usually the same blockages are the culprits in these accidents. The good news is chimney fires are completely preventable with proper maintenance care like regular chimney sweeps from professionals like Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated. Also, knowing what the common chimney blockages are can prepare you to keep these things out of your chimney in the first place.


Stray animals looking for a dry, warm place to call home may come across your chimney to set up house in the winter. Ranging from nesting birds to raccoons to squirrels, these animals not only cause blockage problems that can lead to dangerous fires, but they can become stuck and create nasty, putrid smells that can invade your home. For your own personal safety, we strongly recommend you call a professional animal removal service to get any animals and nests out of your chimney.


All year long, leaves, trash, tree foliage, and settlement works its way down into your chimney and accumulates. This may not sound like too big of a deal; however, all of this debris adds up and can cause blockages giving a risk for incomplete combustion and negative air pressure to happen, driving smoke into your house. Settlement buildup can also cause cracks in your flue, which lets dangerous carbon monoxide escape into your home.


The most dangerous of the chimney blockages, creosote is the by-product of burning wood, and it comes from the residue of smoke, gases, water vapor, hydrocarbon, unburned wood particles, and other assorted minerals as they exit the fireplace and pass through the chimney. Sticking to the inner walls of the chimney, creosote is brown or black in appearance and can be flaky, crusty, tar-like, sticky, drippy, shiny, or hardened — even all of the above. Extremely flammable and highly combustible, creosote can quickly build up, and if the internal flue temperature is high enough, you have a chimney fire waiting to happen that could possibly burn down your entire house. What’s worse is certain conditions make creosote buildup happen more quickly. Factors that accelerate creosote buildup include restricted air supply from closing the glass doors or not opening the damper wide enough and burning unseasoned wood because the smoke is so much cooler due to the energy being used to burn off the water trapped in the cells of the logs. You can also get a heavier amount of creosote buildup if you overload the firebox in a wood stove in an attempt to get a longer burn.

To ensure your chimney is blockage-free and prevent a chimney fire, schedule an appointment for a chimney sweeping with Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated today. A clean chimney is the best prevention against a chimney fire!