Sparks Coming Out Of Chimney? Here’s What You MUST Know

✓ Get expert advice ✓ Find the lowest rates near you ✓ Compare quotes
✓ Same day service!

Table of Contents

Did you know that the sparks coming out of your chimney are a sign that there’s a problem? Moreover, ignoring the problem could lead to a dangerous situation. 

Chimneys ventilate smoke and heat from a fireplace or wood stove. While they work most of the time perfectly, sometimes, you may see sparks coming out of the chimney, which can signify a chimney fire.

To prevent this from happening, it’s essential to take some precautions. First, make sure your chimney is cleaned regularly. Also, install a chimney spark arrestor to catch any sparks that may escape.

If you already have a spark arrestor, check to ensure it’s still in good condition. If it’s not, replace it right away. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about sparks coming out of chimneys.

What Causes Small Sparks Coming Out of Chimneys?

There are many reasons why sparks may come out of your chimney. The most common causes include:

Creosote Buildup

When a fire is lit in a fireplace, the heat of the flames causes the gases and particles in the smoke to rise up the chimney. Over time, these materials can build up inside the chimney, forming a sticky, tar-like substance known as creosote.

As a result, when sparks from the fire come into contact with creosote, they can cause it to ignite. Once started, a creosote fire can quickly spread, potentially damaging the chimney or even the entire home.

Therefore, regularly cleaning your chimney is vital to help prevent creosote buildup and reduce fire risk.

Animal Nesting in Chimney

When animals build nests in chimneys, they often use materials like leaves, twigs, and grass that can easily catch fire. As the nest ignites, tiny sparks come out of the chimney.

These sparks can quickly turn into a full-fledged fire if they come into contact with flammable materials like wood or oil. Sometimes, these sparks can land on the roof and ignite a fire.

To prevent this, it’s essential to have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. This will remove any potential nesting materials and help ensure your fireplace is safe. It would be best if you also considered installing a screen over the top of the chimney to keep animals out.

Chimney Blocked with Debris

Chimneys blocked with debris can cause tiny sparks to come out of the chimney for a few reasons. First, when airflow is restricted, the temperature inside the chimney increases, and this can cause sparks to ignite the debris, which can lead to a fire.

Second, the debris can act as insulation, trapping heat inside the chimney. This can cause bricks and mortar to expand and crack, allowing sparks to escape. Finally, the weight of the debris can cause the chimney to collapse, again allowing sparks to escape.

In any case, clearing your chimney regularly is essential to prevent a fire from starting.


Do You Need to Hire Chimney & Fireplace Expert?

Get free quotes from qualified experts near you. No commitment required!


Is it Normal for Sparks to Come Out of a Chimney?

Not only is this scenario abnormal, but it’s also hazardous. A chimney fire will generally produce sparks and embers from the top of your opening. Therefore, if you see sparks coming out of your chimney, you should take action to ensure that your home is safe.

The first thing you should do if you see sparks coming from your chimney is to call the fire department. Even if the fire appears small, it’s always best to take caution. The fire department will be able to assess the situation and determine whether or not the fire is a danger to your home.

As a result, it is crucial to have your chimney inspected yearly to ensure it is in good condition. When professionals clean your chimney, they will also check for any cracks or damage that could cause sparks to escape.

How Do You Detect Sparks from Chimneys?

There are several ways to detect sparks from a chimney. You can employ visual, auditory, or listening methods, and it’s also advisable to seek professional help to ensure safety.

The following are some of the ways to detect sparks from a chimney:

Visual External Chimney Inspection

Visual inspection of your chimney’s exterior can help you detect sparks. To do this, look at the chimney from the ground level and use binoculars to get a closer view.

If you see sparks, they will likely be small and barely visible. However, if you see flames, it’s crucial to call the fire department immediately, as this could signify a severe fire.

Visual Internal Chimney Inspection

Using a flashlight, you can visually inspect your chimney from the inside. First, make sure that the fireplace is completely extinguished and cooled off. Then, open the damper and shine the light up the chimney.

Doing this will help you spot any sparks coming out of the chimney, which is a sign to take action immediately!

Listen for Sounds

Another way to detect sparks from your chimney is by listening to sounds. If you hear a hissing, crackling, or popping sound from your chimney, it could ignite creosote or other materials.

Having your chimney inspected and cleaned as soon as possible is essential if you hear these sounds.

What are the First Chimney Fire Signs?

Chimney fires are one of the most dangerous types of fire in a home. They are often difficult to detect, and the damage is often already significant by the time they are discovered. However, there are some telltale signs that a chimney fire may be brewing.

Flames or Sparks Coming from the Chimney

The most obvious sign of a chimney fire is flames or sparks coming from the chimney. These sparks are usually tiny and barely visible. However, calling the fire department immediately is crucial if you see large flames or sparks coming from your chimney.

Smoke Coming from the Chimney

Another sign of a chimney fire is smoke coming from the chimney. This smoke will be different from the smoke from a normal fire. And it will be darker and thicker and may have a toxic smell.

If you see or smell this type of smoke, you must call the fire department immediately.

Loud Cracking, Popping, or Roaring Noise

When a chimney fire starts, you may hear a loud cracking, popping, or roaring noise. This noise is caused by the sparks igniting creosote or other materials in the chimney.

You must call the fire department immediately if you hear this type of noise.

What to Do If You Have a Chimney Fire?

If you have a chimney fire, the most important thing is to call 911 and the fire department immediately. Chimney fires are hazardous and can quickly spread to other parts of the home.

Once the fire department arrives, they will work to extinguish the fire and assess the damage. If the damage is significant, they may recommend that you have the chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.


Do You Need to Hire Chimney & Fireplace Expert?

Get free quotes from qualified experts near you. No commitment required!


How to Stop Embers Coming Out of Chimneys?

While there’s nothing much you can do after a chimney fire has started, you can take steps to prevent embers from coming out of your chimney in the first place. Here are some creative and effective ways to do so:

Install Chimney Spark Arrestors

capping an unused chimney

One way to do this is by installing a chimney spark arrestor. This device helps to prevent sparks from leaving the chimney and igniting any materials nearby. There are both interior and exterior chimney spark arrestors, and we discuss them below:

Interior spark arrestors

Also known as “hearth screens,” interior spark arrestors are installed inside the fireplace. They prevent sparks from flying out of the fireplace and igniting anything in the room.

Here’s how to install an interior chimney spark arrestor:

  1. Measure the inside width of your chimney flue with a tape measure. Add 2 inches to this measurement and cut a piece of mesh screen that size.
  2. Fold the edges of the screen over 1/2 inch on all sides and secure them with wire ties.
  3. Place the screen over the chimney flue’s top and secure it with more wire ties.
  4. Cover the screen with a metal cap or lid to keep it in place and help prevent sparks and embers from escaping.
  5. Check the arrestor periodically to ensure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace it if necessary.

Installing an interior chimney spark arrestor is a simple and effective way to help prevent fires. Check and clean the arrestor regularly to keep your chimney in good condition.

Exterior spark arrestors

Exterior spark arrestors are installed at the top of the chimney, preventing sparks from leaving the chimney and igniting anything on the roof or nearby.

To install the arrestor, you’ll need to attach the spark arrestor to the top of the chimney. Most models have a bracket that must be bolted or screwed into place, and it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when attaching the arrestor.

It’s essential to have professionals install both types of chimney spark arrestors to ensure they are installed correctly.

Burn Seasoned Firewood

Seasoned firewood is woodcut and left to dry for six months to a year, and this wood burns more evenly and produces fewer sparks than unseasoned wood.

Make sure only to burn seasoned firewood in your fireplace. You can tell if the wood is seasoned, gray, or brown and feels light.

Do not burn treated wood, painted wood, or any other type of artificial wood in your fireplace. These materials can produce sparks and release toxins into the air.

Keep Your Roof and Rain Gutters Clean

Remove any dried, dead leaves, branches, or debris from your roof and rain gutters. These materials can catch fire quickly and spread the fire to your home.

It would be best to trim any trees or shrubs near your chimney. These plants can catch fire and spread the flames to your home.

Annual Chimney Cleaning

Finally, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney cleaned and inspected yearly. A professional chimney sweep will clean out debris, including soot and creosote, and examine the chimney for any damage.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s essential to have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly. Failure to do so could put your home at risk of a chimney fire.


If you see sparks coming out of your chimney, you must call the fire department immediately. Chimney fires are dangerous and can quickly spread to other parts of the home.

You can also take steps to prevent sparks from coming out of your chimney in the first place. These steps include installing a chimney spark arrestor, burning seasoned firewood, and keeping your roof and rain gutters clean. Finally, it’s essential to have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly.

Connect with a Chimney & Fireplace Expert

Connect with local experts, Compare quotes, And get the best price.
Picture of Thomas Green

Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.