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Robert Jones

I could be wrong

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But, I don't think this stack has been cleaned in a while![:-bigeyes There was a wood stove and old oil furnace installed.

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I've only seen two like that in 14 years. The first one I saw looked like your photos. The seller was there and confirmed the chimney fire. He said the fire department showed up and kept the roof and surrounding area wet till it burned out.

The second not quite as bad but still a fire.

More than half the chimneys I look at need cleaning. Home owners just don't think of that type of maintenance often enough if at all.

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That's what one looks like after a chimney fire....

So does the creosote puff up (or something like that) when it's on fire?

My second question is somewhat rhetorical, but why in hell would you not have the damn thing cleaned after the fire?

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My second question is somewhat rhetorical, but why in hell would you not have the damn thing cleaned after the fire?

Because the sorority house gals wanted the good lookin' firemen to come back out to put another fire out.

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So does the creosote puff up (or something like that) when it's on fire?

Yes, pyrolyzed creosote from a chimney fire "puffs up". The photo in the original post still looks pretty black. It might be the lighting or reflection, but I've always seen it with more of an ash grey appearance.

My second question is somewhat rhetorical, but why in hell would you not have the damn thing cleaned after the fire?
So you don't have to find out how much damage there is to the terra cotta flue tiles.

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Ah yes... a familiar sight. I heated exclussively with wood for a few years, as did most of the folks living out in our mountain community. This is a perfect example of a good wood stove (able to shut it down to practically no burn at all so it merely smolders for hours) teamed up with cold temps and an oversized masonry chimney and flue. Condensation and creosote collection on steroids. The flues that I've seen looking like this were the same most of the way down the flue. It hasn't burned already, but it's a chimney fire waiting to happen.

I had a chimney fire one time, and it will scare one to death. The flames were do intense all the way up the flue that it sounded like the space shuttle taking off - complete with the pulsating roar. I had to shut the stove completely down and wait for the fire department. Thankfully, they didn't do anything crazy like send water down or up the flue, which would have cracked all the flues. They just hung out and we systematically let it burn itself out. The flue was fine and clean as a whistle. Stressful way to clean the flue, though.

All the creosote down the sides of the chimney nails down the fact that the stove was regularly loaded, stoked and shut way down to smolder - a great way to conserve wood and keep the heat in the home, but hell on a chimney.

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Status post chimney fire. Advise them to save a piece of the pyrolyzed creosote along with pics and level II inspection. This is an insurable loss. Failure to sweep the flue would immediately fill the house with smoke and CO.

Cannot common vent wood and oil. Couldn't see a separate flue so if common vented, would have to separate them. Level II would detail that as well.

The chimney itself looks rather poor. Chimney fire may have weakened it to where along with relining, the masonry above the roof may need to be rebuilt.

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IMHO, the chimney fire hasn't happened. If it had, the flue would no longer look like this. Having had a chimney fire before, I can assure you that the flames and embers soaring out of the chimney will obliterate stuff like what we're seeing in these photos. Just my opinion, but I've seen a ton of flues that looked like this that were in desperate need of cleaning before the imminent chimney fire occurred.

When I responded to chimney fires, as a disaster restoration contractor, they never looked like this after the fire. The flues was typically blown wide open by the force of the blast furnace like burn. As I stated earlier, the demand for oxygen from a flue that is completely involved in a flue fire is so strong that it will begin to pulsate as it tries to pull in oxygen from any available source. It will scare the pants off of ya - a great big Roman candle.

The stains on the chimney are not the result of a chimney fire, but rather long term smoke meandering out of the flue when the stove is shut down and smoldering.

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I'm with Mr. Midlothian..

That's just a massive deposition of creosote.. and I mean 'Massive'.. (Cool) Guy probably just used damp wood or wood not seasoned.. and kept the fire 'low'... never cranked it up.. Foolish..

Chimney fires crank the heck out of a chimney.. 'You'll know it when you see it".. :)

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I am not on site where I can see this up close but from my office, this appears as I stated previously.

Some chimney fires will scour the flue clean while others puff up the creosote blocking the flue and smoking the house out. I'm sure most of the staining was from years of use. Both oil and wood can stain a chimney like this. The slab rain cap makes the creosote & soot staining worse.

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I never knew that stuff could puff up like that.

I've had one unintentional chimney fire here. I controlled it with the damper and let it do it's thing. Sure was glad I was here when it happened though.

Besides cleaning the chimney, I got into the habit of cranking it in the morning and burning out what ever might have been left behind from the night before, or whenever I lit a new fire. I always figured it was better to have a small burnout than to try to play that game again. And, heating up the flue seems to help induce a better draft with mine

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