If you have a chimney then creosote is something you should be concerned about. It’s the number one cause of thousands of chimneys fires a year and can be harmful even if you never experience a chimney fire. It’s essential that every homeowner knows what creosote is and works with a professional chimney sweep company to prevent it from harming your chimney.

What is Creosote?

When wood or fuels are burned in your fireplace or appliance they don’t burn completely. The unburned particles leftover from your fire travel up your chimney and condense as they cool. As the unburned particles condense with the water and other substances in your chimney, they become a residue that sits on your chimney walls, which is called creosote. If the airflow of your chimney is constricted, then more particles from your fire go unburned and the tougher the creosote it that builds. Since creosote itself coats your chimney and restricts the airflow, creosote in your chimney makes more of it build faster.

Creosote forms in three stages. It begins as a loose flaky substance. At this stage it contains a high percentage of soot and is easy to wipe away. First stage creosote builds when your chimneys airflow is not constricted. Second stage creosote has more hard, shiny black fakes that contain tar, and is the result of a chimney with a more constricted airflow. At the third stage the creosote becomes much more hardened and is extremely difficult to remove. At this stage it resembles tar running down your chimney. It hardens and can become recoated by more creosote, and so can form a very thick layer.

The Danger of Creosote

The first problem with creosote is that, like the buildup of any substances in your chimney, it restricts your chimney’s airflow. A restricted airflow not only leads to tougher creosote, but prevents it from doing its job. In order to enjoy a fire safely, smoke and gases need to be able to leave your home through the chimney. If the airflow is restricted, smoke and gas like carbon monoxide can stay in your home and put your household in danger

Not only does it restrict the airflow, but creosote itself is also a harmful substance to your chimney. It can corrode and damage the chimney walls if it’s left uncleaned too long. It also is an extremely flammable substance, especially at its third stage. It can ignite and start a fire in your chimney, which both damages your chimney and may spread to the rest of your home.

Signs You Have Creosote in Your Chimney

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in more than a year but have used it regularly chances are there’s creosote in your chimney and you should call a professional. If you’re unsure, here are few signs that can help you know:

  1. Since creosote blocks the airflow in your chimney, if it’s there you’ll notice an excessive amount of smoke when you build a fire in your fireplace. Normally this smoke would go through your chimney and out of your home, but with creosote blocking it’s path less will be able to leave.
  2. The buildup of creosote can leave a lingering odor of burnt barbeque or asphalt around your fireplace and home.
  3. Creosote can leave marks and stains on the roof around your chimney that let you know it’s past time for a cleaning.

You can also very carefully look into your chimney for signs of creosote, but since it’s hard for the inexperienced eye to recognize we recommend you consult with a professional and schedule an inspection if you suspect creosote build up in your home.

We Remove Every Stage of Creosote From Your Chimney

Because creosote is more dangerous the longer it goes uncleaned and harder to remove at its later stages, it’s essential to have your chimney cleaned regularly to wipe it away before it gets anywhere near the third stage. But don’t worry, if creosote has reached the second or third stage we can help. While it’s impossible for an ameatuer to remove these more hardened versions of creosote, we use cutting-edge technology and tools to remove even the toughest creosote. Call us fill out our online appointment for to schedule an appointment today.