Many of us heat our homes with a wood stove, myself included. Please remember to clean your chimney and stove pipe on a regular basis and get professional help if your chimney is hard to access and requires skilled climbing and ladder work.
Your chimney will build up ash and sometimes creosote depending on how you control your
burn rate. A wood stove that is frequently “banked down” too often or slightly starved of air to
slow the burn, may send more incomplete combustibles into the chimney .This smoke
cools and condenses and forms creosote that later can ignite with a hotter fire.
However, even the cleanest burning wood stove needs to have it’s chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Also be mindful of where you dispose of the ashes, be sure not to discard close to your house, barn or other outbuildings, they stay hot and can cause an active fire hours later. Ashes should only be disposed of in a metal container with a tight fitting lid, where they should remain for a week before being disposed.
If you think you have a chimney fire call 911 immediately.
Signs of a chimney fire include: smoke pushing into your home instead of going up the chimney, sounds of crackling or a roaring sound in the chimney or wall where it runs up to the roof. Sometimes you can hear the sound of broken off creosote falling down . Also a very hot wall and flames outside at the chimney top and or lot’s of sparks coming out. Chimney fires can rapidly spread to a wall or roof, do not delay calling for help even if you think it self extinguished.