Why Are Sparks Coming Out of My Chimney? Pro Solution Guide

December 18, 2023
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why are sparks coming out of my chimney

Imagine this, you’re sitting by a warm fireplace, feeling cozy, when suddenly, little sparks start floating out of your chimney. It’s not the comfy scene you expected. If you ever thought, “Why are Sparks Coming out of My Chimney?,” you’re in the right place.

In simple terms, sparks from your chimney can happen because of burning wood that isn’t fully dry, a buildup of something called creosote, or when there’s something blocking your chimney. 

In this blog, we’ll look closely at why sparks happen, whether it’s normal, and what you can do about it.

Is It Normal for Sparks to Come Out of Chimney?

Sparks from the chimney can be okay when you use a fireplace, especially with certain types of wood. But if you see too many sparks or big embers coming out of the chimney, it might mean there’s a problem that needs fixing.                 

Why Does It Matter If Sparks Come Out of the Chimney?

Is It Normal for Sparks to Come Out of Chimney?

Some people think chimneys are meant to keep fires inside, but that’s not true. They’re designed to contain smoke, not fire. If there’s a fire, it can make the tile inside the chimney break in just a few minutes, even if it’s not very hot. This can make the fire spread to the attic, walls, and other flammable things in your home.

What about stainless steel? Well, these liners are tested to handle heat up to 2100℉, but flue fires can burn as hot as 3000℉. This makes the steel change shape and bend, allowing heat and fire to spread in your home.

Think it won’t happen to you? Every year, more than 25,000 chimney fires in the United States cause around $125 million in property damage. Besides the money lost, these fires also result in the tragic loss of lives. Several hundred people die each year in house fires, most of which are “confined fires” such as chimneys, flues, or flue burners.

The good news is that most chimney fires can be stopped before they even happen.

Why are Sparks Coming out of My Chimney?

Seeing sparks shooting out of your chimney might be a bit scary, especially if you’re not sure why it’s happening. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one! A lot of homeowners go through this, and usually, it’s not something to be really worried about. Still, it’s crucial to figure out why it’s happening and do what’s needed to fix it.

There could be a few reasons behind those fiery specks:

Burning Unseasoned Wood

Using wood that is wet or not properly dried can create too much smoke and sparks in the fireplace. It’s important to make sure the wood is fully dry before you burn it.

Creosote Buildup

A common cause of sparks is something called creosote buildup. Creosote is like a sticky tar that forms in your chimney when you burn wood. As time goes on, it can gather up and make a risky layer that can catch fire easily from hot embers. When that occurs, you might notice small sparks coming out of the chimney.

Animal Nests

Animals like birds and squirrels sometimes build homes in chimneys. Their nests can block the flue and trap things that can catch fire, like leaves and twigs. When you light a fire, these things can catch fire and make sparks fly.

Blocked Chimney

If the chimney is blocked, air and smoke can’t move properly, and they might come back into the fireplace. This can also make sparks and embers shoot out of the chimney. Things like leaves, twigs, or even fallen bricks could be causing the blockage.

Is it a Chimney Fire?

Even though sparks from your chimney don’t always mean there’s a big chimney fire, it’s crucial to be careful. 

Watch out for other signs like:

  • Big flames or embers: If you see large flames or glowing embers shooting out of the chimney, it’s a clear sign of a chimney fire.
  • Dark smoke: Thick, black smoke pouring from the chimney is another warning sign.
  • Crackling or roaring sound: A loud crackling or roaring noise from the chimney could mean the fire is burning creosote buildup.

How Can You Tell If Sparks Are Coming Out of Your Chimney?

Sparks Are Coming Out of Your Chimney

There are a few ways to figure out if sparks are coming from your chimney. You can use your eyes and ears or get help from professionals to make sure everything is safe.

Here are some ways to tell if there are sparks from your chimney:

  • Look Outside: Check the outside of your chimney by looking at it from the ground. You can use binoculars for a closer look. Sparks might be small and hard to see, but if you notice flames, call the fire department right away because that could mean a serious fire.
  • Look Inside: Use a flashlight to check inside your chimney. First, make sure the fireplace is completely out and cool. Then, open the damper and shine the light up the chimney. If you see sparks, it’s a sign that you need to take action immediately.
  • Listen for Sounds: Pay attention to any sounds coming from your chimney. If you hear hissing, crackling, or popping, it could mean there’s something that might catch fire. It’s crucial to have your chimney inspected and cleaned soon if you notice these sounds.

What to Do if You See Sparks

If you see sparks from your chimney, here’s what you should do:

  • Stop using the fireplace right away. This stops the fire from spreading and lets the burning stuff cool down.
  • Call a chimney sweep. Get a professional chimney sweep to check your chimney. They can clean out any creosote or blockages and make sure your chimney is safe to use.
  • Think about getting a chimney cap. A chimney cap can stop animals from making homes inside and keep out rain and snow, which can make creosote buildup worse.
  • Make sure to clean your chimney regularly to get rid of creosote and debris. This helps lower the chances of sparks happening.
  • Install a Spark Arrestor. Think about putting a spark arrestor on your chimney’s top. It keeps sparks inside so they don’t fly away.
  • Sometimes, look at your chimney to see if anything is blocking it. A clear chimney promotes better airflow.

Besides, do you know how often you should sweep your chimney? Visit our insightful blog to learn all about this topic.

Preventing Sparks in the Future

To avoid having sparks in the future, follow these tips:

  • Get your chimney checked and cleaned regularly. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says it’s good to have your chimney checked and cleaned once a year, especially if you use your fireplace a lot.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Using wood that’s not fully dry makes more creosote, so it’s better to use wood that’s all dried out. Don’t burn things like clothes, furniture, or anything that’s not firewood. They make too much smoke.
  • Choose woods like maple, poplar, and oak to burn. They make less smoke compared to softer woods like fir, pine, or redwood.
  • Use the right-sized logs. If the logs are too big, they make too much heat and add to the creosote problem.
  • Open the damper all the way when using the fireplace. This makes sure the air flows right and helps stop smoke and embers from going back into the chimney.

In addition, do you know why the chimney leaks and how to fix it? Take a look at our blog on this topic to find out the right answer.

Contact a Pro

If you need help with your chimney, choose Air Duct Now. We’re experts at keeping chimneys in good shape. Our team has more than 15 years of experience, and we’re licensed and insured.

Why pick us? We care about your safety, do a great job, and make sure you’re happy. We’re really good at cleaning, fixing, and taking care of chimneys to keep your home clean and safe. Our prices are fair, and our licensed and insured team responds quickly.

Choose us for the best chimney sweep in Los Angeles. We check your chimney, clean anything dirty, and make sure everything is neat, giving you peace of mind and a comfy home.

Wrapping Up

In summary, understanding the reasons behind the question “Why are Sparks Coming out of My Chimney?” is crucial for maintaining a safe and enjoyable fireplace experience. Whether it’s because of wet wood, creosote, or things blocking the chimney, doing things like cleaning often, using dry wood, and putting on spark arrestors can really help. Just remember, a chimney that’s taken care of doesn’t just keep you safe; it also makes your home feel warm and cozy.

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