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  1. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    So I am a risk taker, don't flame me. We have had our house of 14 years and never have the chimney swept. I have held off doing it because I am have a plan to put a new ZC woodstove and new chimney in.

    Last night I put a piece of wood on that was disguised. It was saturated with pitch and didn't know it. Fire flared up big time, and so I immediately went out side to check the chimney. Chimney was red hot and flames were shooting out about 1.5 feet!!!!!

    I just about chit my pants ran inside and yelled, "We need to get this log out of the fireplace know, we have a chimney fire!!!!".

    Grabbed the tongs and told my wife to stamp anything out that falls on the carpet as I carried this inferno log outside. Fortunately it was only about 15 feet, and not much damage occurred.

    How much should it cost me to have a chimney sweep? If I just get some of those chimney clean logs will those work for a while?

    I know that my root cause is two things:

    1) Burning not completely dry wood.
    2) Not doing a yearly sweep.

    I will be doing chimney sweeps yearly with the new install. Wish I would have taken the time to take a picture :eek:).

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  2. guest5234

    guest5234 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Messages:
    214
    Loc:
    Stratford Upon Avon, England.
    14 years :bug: how mant yars before you moved in was it not swept, I should imagine the chimney is about 2 inches in diameter with all the crap up there..........do not start another fire in that stove again if you value your house and your families lives
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,914
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    The chimney may be cleaned out, but you may want to have somebody drop a camera down it to see if there are any cracks or broken tiles and mortar.

    Glad you are safe.

    Matt
  4. G-rott

    G-rott Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    165
    Loc:
    Petoskey Michigan
    Is your chimney too high to clean yourself. Mine gets done about three times a season now that I have the "Right" tools for the job. Plus even with the purchase of a new ladder the pay back is less than three cleanings by a pro.

    BUT...my roof is a walkable 6/12 with easy access.

    Garett
  5. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,153
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Wow - glad you/your family are still here to tell the tale. Next you will tell us you take the batteries out of the smoke detector for adventure? So pulling the log out allowed the chimney fire to go out? I always assumed that would be like blowing out the match once the bonfire is already roaring and the flue would burn until no more creosote was left - or the house collapsed around it.
  6. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    You've held off long enough, methinks.
    In my case, it was a matter of just not knowing any better. Previous owners had obviously not swept the flue for,....well I really don't know how long. Not the only thing they didn't take care of.
    My first time up on the roof to check, I discovered an 8" i.d. selkirk had become about a 4". :ahhh: That, combined with less than ideal wood, had me thinking wood didn't really burn. Got myself the rods, a brush, and went to town.
    I would strongly suggest getting on the roof to check that flue for damage, and clean if needed.
  7. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,892
    Loc:
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Glad you got two threads going on this, so we get two chances to "flame" you.
    Not cleaning your chimney because you are "planning" to install a new one is like saying you didn't get your kids to wear a seatbelt because you were "planning" to sell the car????
    !4 year is a long time to not sweep your chimney, have you been planning to install a new one all that time?
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,358
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    That was my thought. In fact, I wouldn't want to open the stove door for that long for fear of adding oxygen to the inferno. I'd be more inclined close off the air completely. I would also put a ladder up to the chimney and pour some water on it. Been there, done that.

    Since the chimney was glowing red, I have to assume it is metal. Have it professionally inspected and consider replacing it. Chances are it wasn't built to modern standards and probably deteriorated since.

    I've experienced one chimney fire over 30 years ago and my father lost his home to a chimney fire. He never ever cleaned his and in my case I was burning wood before its time. For my current home I went with an ICC chimney and chased it with a radiation shield as well. ICC's spec is much higher than what minimum US standards mandate. I also lined the joist/rafter openings and made additional firestops with concrete board and even used metal studs in the chase. I'm a belt, suspenders, and ducktape kind of guy.

    That said, I only clean and inspect my flue every 5 to 10 years since it manages to stay clean on its own.
  9. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    House was new when we bought it, 8" SS chimney with a cheapo builder job fireplace. Lots of fires occurred in the fireplace only over the last 5 years, first 9 years only occasional fires. Yes the chimney fire went out almost instantly after I took the "inferno" log out.

    I am calling insurance Monday about this. Maybe if they kick down some funds I will accelerate the woodstove/chimney install.
  10. mikepinto65

    mikepinto65 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    684
    Loc:
    Webster, MA
    I think you should really get the thought out of your head that it was the logs fault. It really seems like your placing blame on the log.... It is 100% your fault that your chimney lit. The log had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT other than the fact that it was burning like it was suppose to. It sounds to me the log was an "inferno" because your chimney was on fire and drafting the hell out of the stove. This is one of the stupidest threads I have read, AND you really seem like you wont be acknowledging you ignorance any time soon. Hope this dosnt happen to you again, and I hope the insurance company denies you...they have no reason to pay out for stupidity.

    Oh ya... FYI, i've been to three chimney fires this season due to people throwing those stupid chimney sweeping logs in a clogged up chimney. So I guess they work, but you might lose your house cleaning it. Go buy a brush and pole and clean it yourself every couple months, not yearly or every 14 years for that matter.
  11. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,332
    Loc:
    Tuscola, IL
    Easy there Mike, my grandson says Papa "we don't say stupid" ;-P I think Mack already knew that what he was doing was not a good idea and just wanted to confess for the sake of others.
  12. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
    .... I like the visual I got of "the wife" stompin' out burning embers that hit the carpet on the way out the door with a smolderin/flaming log.....
  13. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    This is true.

    Don't think that I just start a fire and sit back and watch TV. I constantly monitor it, walking outside and checking my chimney, and will always due this the rest of my life.

    I have a "to-do" to put in a new Magnum ZC and new 2100 chimney. I will also invest in chinmey cleaning tools and perform chimney cleaning every summer. I am moving from a 6" to 8" chimney so I want to hold off investing in something until I have done exactly what I am going to be using in the future years.

    I stated in my original post that there is no need to flame me, I know what I have done.
  14. mikepinto65

    mikepinto65 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    684
    Loc:
    Webster, MA
    I gathered he knew it wasnt a good idea, but he is still tiptoeing around the cause ("It was saturated with pitch and didn’t know it"). That is stupidity IMO. Not to mention actually hoping to gain money from the experience. I hope your grandson knows that it isnt right to steal.
  15. rustynut

    rustynut Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    309
    Loc:
    mid mich
    ok mackconsult, you do realize that the 8 inch chimney is not going to give you extended time between cleanings just because its a larger diameter - right ;-) i'm guessing that your avatar explains things.lol
    dont want to kill yourself beating the heat bill. safe burning. rn
  16. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Oh yeah she was pissed at me :eek:)

    She was already pissed about the whole WVO, biodiesel production, and switching both rigs to diesels.

  17. Chettt

    Chettt Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Loc:
    Western Michigan
    I'm guessing its hard to get really dry wood in the coastal northwest so cleaning has got to be an even higher priority. Thanks for sharing your story.
  18. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Actually if you can split, stack, and store for a year its as dry a wood as you can get any were else. Just have not been following that rule very well. The new install will be treated much better, I guarantee.

    I just wanted to share with folks my experience this weekend that made my heart jump.

  19. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    My house was built in 94. It has a cheapo/but certified SS chimney.

  20. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Yes I know this. The avatar is for other peoples chuckle. I use it on all of my forums. Have been burning wood all my life, so I know exactly what I have done.

  21. lazeedan

    lazeedan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    269
    Loc:
    SW Michigan
    Good Luck with your insurance company.
  22. Roxburyeric

    Roxburyeric Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    154
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    I would bet your insurance Company drops you. Think about it - they come out see how you don't care about cleaning, you burn wet wood, don't take care of the chimney, etc. Next you get a nice letter - Sorry we're not paying and you no longer have insurance. Expecting them to pay for your ignorance or call it your stupidity is exactly whats wrong with this Country these days. Too many people what something for nothing. I am tired of people saying "I've been burning forever so I must know what I am doing - well burning forever has no bearing on doing it the right way - just means you have been ignorant for longer than most people. Good luck - get a gas furnace.
  23. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Messages:
    499
    Loc:
    Plymouth, Minnesota
    After 14 years of not cleaning the pipe, its amazing that you didnt have a fire before this one. Maybe you should call your local Fire Department and advise them that you are a risk taker and may have a house fire. I hope no one gets hurt.
    Thanks for reminding me to clean the pipe. I have already done it twice and will check it again when I get home. I got my girl friend and dog to think about. They mean alot to me and dont want them to ever get hurt because I didnt sweep the pipe.
  24. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    888
    Mike,

    You are holding back, please tell us how you really feel. That being said, there is simply no excuse for not cleaning a chimney for 14 years, especially when you knew it had to be done. There are some kinds of risk taking that are every day occurences in life.....what funds you select in a 401K, should you buy a Blu Ray player now or wait until the price drops, etc. Taking a risk that threatens lives is just jackassian.
  25. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,273
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Is that a word? :)

    Shari
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