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Chimney Creosote: Causes, Dangers, And How to Get Rid of It

Creosote buildup in your chimney can affect ventilation and produce toxic gases. Learn more about chimney creosote here.

Do you notice that your fireplace isn’t functioning as efficiently as it used to? Or is your fireplace overheating? If yes, then your chimney may have creosote buildup.

Creosote builds up inside the flue when the smoke from your fireplace cannot escape your home and accumulates in the form of soot inside your chimney.

Since you cannot possibly put your head inside the chimney to look for creosote buildup, you must look for signs indicating creosote issues. Failure to address these issues in time can lead to chimney fires. So here’s all you need to know about chimney creosote:

What is Creosote?

It is a type of soot that can build up in your chimney as you continue burning wood logs in your fireplace. As the wood burns, it creates smoke that may contain creosote. When the ventilation isn’t good, and the smoke cannot rise quickly enough, the creosote may accumulate inside the chimney walls.

In its earlier stages, creosote is relatively easier to remove and clean using simple tools such as cleaning brushes. However, if it continues to build up, it may develop into sticky tar that is harder to clean.

What are the Causes of Chimney Creosote?

A few factors can contribute to creosote buildup in your chimney. For example, slow-burning wood can cause the smoke to take longer than usual to escape your chimney. As a result, the smoke residues may stick to your chimney walls and continue to build up.

Similarly, burning wet wood can also reduce the temperatures in your chimney, impeding proper ventilation and leading to creosote accumulation.

Stages and dangers of Creosote buildup

Accumulation of creosote in your chimney can be divided into 3 stages.

  • In the first stage, the creosote forms a thin black layer. When you start burning woods in the fireplace, this smoke leaves creosote deposits in the form of flakes. Although it’s not urgent to clean during this stage, it can develop into a serious issue after a few months.
  • During the second stage, the creosote turns into a dark substance. This makes it more difficult to clean using household cleaning products. At this point, it’s advisable to consult a chimney sweep and have a detailed cleaning of your chimney to avoid any long-term damage to your appliance.
  • In the third stage of buildup, the substance takes the form of thick sticky tar. Since it’s more concentrated and flammable, it can lead to chimney fires when the heat rises. The accumulation may also restrict air ventilation in your chimney, making the air column tighter. Consequently, you may feel smoke filling inside your living room, causing breathing difficulties.

At this point, you must immediately contact a professional chimney sweep to perform a cleaning job to salvage your chimney system from any further damage. A chimney expert may recommend replacing the chimney liner if they cannot completely get rid of the buildup.

Is Creosote buildup dangerous?

While different stages of creosote pose different risks to your chimney system, it’s important to note that it also affects the health of households. As creosote affects proper ventilation, toxic gases like CO (Carbon monoxide) can fill your home and lead to chronic respiratory diseases. Moreover, inhaling toxins can affect your immunity and make you vulnerable to other diseases.

How to get rid of Creosote?

Depending on how much you could sort accumulation in your chimney, you can clean it using different methods. For example, during this creosote buildup stage, you can use a cleaning brush with a long handle to access the inside of your chimney flue and clean the flakes using a vacuum.

However, during stages 2 and 3, if the creosote has built up into a sticky tar substance, it’s better to leave the cleaning to the professionals. Not only will they do a better job, but they can also help you identify any other lurking chimney issues.

If you’re looking for a chimney expert in Connecticut to get rid of chimney creosote or address any other chimney needs,  Creative Masonry & Chimney has got you covered. They’re one of the leading chimney services in the state, providing reliable and affordable services, including chimney sweeping, inspection, cleaning, rebuilding, and more.

The company’s team comprises highly trained and experienced individuals licensed, insured, and certified in masonry services. This ensures you always get the best chimney services without breaking the bank.

Contact them today to get one of the best chimney services in town.

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