Relaxing by the fireplace is a staple of the cooler autumn and winter months, as it’s a great place to socialize and escape from the cold. However, you must take necessary precautions before using your fireplace, as fireplace safety is very important in preventing house and chimney fires. For example, you should make sure that the gate is closed and that there are no belongings, furniture, or possessions close to the fireplace. You also need to make sure the fire is properly extinguished afterward.
An often overlooked yet very important precaution to consider before using your fireplace is on your home’s exterior. Take a look outside and make sure there are no tree limbs near your chimney, as these can cause many problems with your chimney system. Read below to learn more, then give C&C Chimney a call at (918) 396-8296 to schedule an appointment today!
What Problems Do Tree Limbs Cause?
Overhanging tree limbs can cause a variety of problems for your entire chimney system. For example, they cause drafting issues, especially if they are taller than the chimney. Tree limbs in close proximity to your chimney can create downdrafts, which are when smoke is blown down through the chimney and back into your home. This is a major inconvenience, as it creates brings smoke indoors and can blow smoldering embers into the room.
Overhanging limbs can also fall on and damage certain chimney components, such as the chimney cap. As the name implies, the chimney cap sits at the top of your chimney system. A missing or damaged cap causes all sorts of problems for your system, as your chimney and home are no longer closed off from the outdoors. Falling tree branches can also damage the masonry, crown, and any other chimney components.
A missing chimney cap paired with overhanging tree limbs is a recipe for disaster. Twigs, leaves, sticks, and branches themselves can fall down the chimney since it is not covered. If these materials build up over time, they dry out and become significant fire hazards. They can also block off your chimney and create more drafting or ventilation issues.
Not only can the limbs break off and fall into your system, but the branches make your chimney easily accessible to animals. Animals such as birds, mice, raccoons, and squirrels love nesting in chimneys because they are a warm place to escape from predators and the harsh weather. If these animals build a nest in your chimney, the materials can easily catch fire from an errant ember or spark. The animal can also pass away while living in your chimney, which leads to a rotting carcass. A decaying animal in your chimney will stink up the entire house and is also a significant fire hazard.
A tree branch falling onto your home or chimney can also be an insurance issue. Your claim could be denied if the branches were deemed to be “at risk” of falling, and not having them trimmed or removed would be negligence on your part.
What Can I Do About Overhanging Limbs and Their Problems?
A general rule of thumb says that trees within 10 feet of the chimney should be at least 2 feet shorter than the height of the chimney, but the Chimney Safety Institute of America says that branches should be at least 15 feet away. Either way, there should not be overhanging branches anywhere near the top of your chimney and if you notice any that are questionably close, have them trimmed before using your fireplace. This significantly lowers your risk of all the aforementioned problems.
If a limb has damaged your chimney cap, we can repair or replace it very easily. We can also handle all of the problems that come with damaged chimney caps such as animal removal, water damage repair, and more.
Many of the problems caused by overhanging limbs such as debris falling into your chimney can be fixed with routine chimney sweepings and inspections. Fortunately, we have a team of CSIA professionally trained and certified technicians who can handle the job! Our sweepings and inspections clear your flue of any blockages or debris and we’ll have your system working good as new in no time!
Schedule an Appointment Today!
For any chimney services in the Tulsa area, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you need help removing overhanging branches or a routine chimney sweeping we have a team of professionally trained and certified technicians for the job. We also handle air duct and dryer vent services while selling and installing a variety of hearth appliances! Give us a call at (918) 396-8296 or schedule an appointment online today!