Got Chimfex Alternative ? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hello Everyone:

Went to my local woodstove dealer today looking to purchase a few sticks of Chimfex -- an emergency chimney fire suppressant -- and was promptly told the late-great State of California banned this stuff several years ago (probably some nanny bureaucrat trying to protect us feeble, foolish children from ourselves). Anyway, having experienced one nasty chimney fire in my life -- a truly terrifying event btw -- and not wanting to battle a possible future one unarmed, can anyone out there offer a good alternative? Either an effective substitute or out-of-state mail-order source would be most appreciated.


-- Yan (, October 11, 1999


Snag a big box of Arm and Hammer baking soda. It is an excellent fire suppressor; your problem now becomes a matter of dispersal. Perhaps you could obtain a old time hand-operated fumigation pump like gardeners use to spray Sevin dust on their vegetables. Pour the powdered soda into the storage hopper, secure the top, and each time you push the plunger in, you should get a cloud of atomized baking soda squirting out of the dispensing nozzle. (Note: this is NOT the pressurized tank type for spraying liquids!)

-- Jay Urban (, October 11, 1999.

One out-of-state source for Chimfex is from Plow & Hearth, P.O. Box 5000 Madison, Virginia 22727-1500. Their 24-hour order number is 1- 800-627-1712. Their webpage is: Chimfex is listed at $11.95 or two or more for $9.95.


-- Drew (, October 11, 1999.

A simple & quick way to stop a flue fire is to toss a wet rag on the fire & then shut all the air intakes. A couple of wet paper towels will do it. It puts off just enough steam to choke out the fire up in the chimney. You have to be pretty quick & get it as soon as the fire starts. The second I hear that freight-train sound I run for the towels & I can have that fire out in less than a minute. I also run a brush down the chimney about once a month. That way the creosote buildup is pretty light & the fire is never too big. I also have a sweep come & clean it at least once a year. Because of the type of wood I use & the way the woodstove is I still get about 2 flue fires a year but they have not been a big problem. It sure gets my adrenaline going though!!! And don't go to sleep or leave the house with a rip roaring fire going. Good luck! Carolyn

-- carolyn mather (, October 11, 1999.


How does one tell one has a chimney fire before it is too late? Carolyn's freight train comment was intriguing. My family may be relying on a smaller fireplace this winter--amything else we should watch for?

Or is this too "preppy" for this forum?


-- William in Dallas (, October 11, 1999.

Just got a catalog over the weekend that had Chimfex in it for $14.99 per stick. Company is called Home Improvements. Website appears to be They also have a cresote eliminating product on the same page. Great stuff.

-- lvz (, October 11, 1999.

would recomend you buy chimfex mail-order- it works great. Have heard however, that a couple of aluminum soda/beer cans tossed in the blaze will also help. But- haven't tried that myself- just the chimfex which definitely works......

P.S. Fire extinguishers are a must. Just used ours on my partners car the other day- saved the car. Need to recharge ours and get a few more.

-- farmer (, October 11, 1999.

That locomotive sound.....? I know exactly what you mean. It's a "huf-fa, huf-fa, huf-fa, HUFFA..." We've had a woodstove for over 20 years, and when I hear that noise, it means that the fire doesn't have enough air and is sucking at the vents. Our woodstove has adjustable air vents, and a plate in the flue that can be adjusted. We can get it if there is a big piece of cardboard in the stove, that will go out in a minute, or if we have put too much wood in the stove, and the air vents have to be turned down, and the flue plate adjusted, so the fuel won't get so much air. I know that it is not a flue fire that is making this noise, because the whole flue is exposed all the way up to the second floor before it exits the roof, and if it were a fire in the flue, I would be able to see the pipe turn red up at the top near the ceiling, (where the creosote is deposited due to the cooler smoke temperature.) I, too, fear a flue fire, and we watch the amount of wood we put in, watch the flue temperature ( we have a gauge ), and never go to sleep on the fire, even if it means being cold for a few minutes in the morning. (I know this belongs on the prep page, but the other writer posted HERE.) Maybe you really don't have a flue fire?

-- Louisa (, October 11, 1999.

Have a two-chemical additive to fire that will prevent creosote buildup, will post tomorrow, so watch for it. (Have to dig it out). Also, avoid burning pine etc.

-- Patrick (, October 11, 1999.

Someone asked about the freight train sound that happens when a flue fire starts. In my case it is a VERY loud roar and it actually shakes the house. It's different from the "huf-huf" sound when the fire in the stove needs a little more air. If you run outside you can see flames coming out of the chimney. I can tell you, this is NOT one of my favorite events!! Fortunately, the way my chimney is built with a huge amount of blocklite around it, it is not too dangerous and can easily be dealt with.

-- Carolyn Mather (, October 12, 1999.

As promised; the two-chemical mixture... one cup of zinc oxide and one cup of coarse table salt, mixed and applied to a hot fire, two or three times a year will prevent creosote buildup. CAUTION: turn your face away from the fire when throwing it on and wear gloves. Source: THE SURVIVAL CHEMIST by David A. Howard, pp.13. Hope this helps.

-- Patrick (, October 12, 1999.

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