What is Creosote? How Does a Chimney Sweep Prevent It from Causing a Chimney Fire?
When discussing chimney care, it is likely you will hear the words “dangerous” and “creosote.” But what is creosote? Our chimney sweeps can help educate you on what creosote is, as well as give a proper chimney inspection and sweeping to keep any danger out of your home.
What is it?
Creosote is a byproduct of wood combustion and is composed of tar. When you burn wood, creosote is made.
Creosote is flammable and attaches to the bricks or chimney liner of a fireplace. While a thin layer at first, it multiplies upon itself until it is coating the inside of the chimney.
When a fireplace is used frequently and an inspection is neglected, the passageway of the chimney gets narrower in an endless cycle of creosote growth.
Thick layers may catch sparks and a chimney fire begins. It can spread to the roof and surrounding trees or—in the most dangerous situation—spread inside to start a house fire.
Furthermore, a creosote buildup can cause a chimney blockage. There is then a risk of smoke and carbon monoxide billowing back into the home.
The 3 stages of creosote
Stage 1: The creosote is quite thin, flaky, and made of soot. This results during the good combustion of an open fireplace with high temperatures and an open ventilation system.
One of our chimney sweeps will be able to easily brush the material away.
Stage 2: The flakes are thicker with tar. It builds up when wood is burned in a more restricted area, such as in a wood stove or fireplace with glass doors.
Chemical solvents and rotary loops may be necessary.
Stage 3: This is the worst buildup. The tar is sticky and oily. Bad or incomplete combustion, as well as low temperatures, will cause this.
The normal methods will not get rid of this highly concentrated material. The chimney liner may need to be removed or replaced.
We are dedicated to keeping your family safe. We not only understand the dangers of chimney fires, but we also know that as creosote builds up, the potential cost of chimney repair and replacement increases. Let us catch it before it becomes an issue!
Any degree of creosote is flammable and should be removed. We recommend scheduling an inspection and sweeping annually. One of our certified chimney sweeps will always be available!