Creosote is highly flammable and incredibly dangerous, but it’s an eventual byproduct of using your chimney. How can you take care of creosote build-up in your chimney and prevent it from building up so quickly in the future? Here’s what you need to know.

Creosote 101

Creosote is a flammable and corrosive substance that accumulates on the walls of fireplaces and chimneys. It is created after wood particles, fly ash and other gases mix together on their way out of your home. If your chimney isn’t clean or properly ventilated, creosote will build up on the walls. As the build-up continues to accumulate, it can cause a chimney fire.

How is Creosote Formed?

Creosote is formed through:

  • Condensation: If you cut down on the amount of air entering the chamber so that your fire smolders, this leads to flue gas condensing on the inside of your chimney and turns the resin into creosote.
  • Liquidation: The resin or sap will turn liquid and enter mortar joints and cracks in your chimney.
  • Solidification: As the temperature fluctuates inside of your chimney, the build-up will accelerate as the space in the chimney decreases and gas struggles to get out.

Once creosote is formed, it will go through three stages:

  1. Flaky soot that is easy to remove
  2. Hard and shiny black flakes containing tar
  3. A tar-like coating all over the inside of your chimney that is hard and extremely flammable

How Can You Minimize Creosote?

It is always best to prevent creosote build-up through smart daily chimney practices instead of needing to scrape away caked-on layers. To minimize creosote:

  • Don’t burn slow or smoldering fires in your fireplace
  • Never burn unseasoned wood that was cut within the last 6 months-1 year
  • Never burn artificial logs in your fireplace
  • Burn hot fires with plenty of air

How Can You Get Rid of Creosote?

Depending on which stage of creosote build-up you have in your chimney, Clean Sweep Maryland will use the proper tools to remove it. Some of the most common removal methods include flat wire brushes, rotary loops, chemical creosote removers and heavy-duty scraping tools.

Ready to give your chimney a clean sweep? Call Clean Sweep Maryland today at 410-558-1111 for professional service with a smile this summer.