When combustion takes place, there is always going to be part of the burn fuel that is left over in the form of gas. These unburned gases gather into a tarry, sticky substance that builds up on the walls of the chimney. This substance is called creosote. Other places where this can originate are the furnace and stoves. Families who use candles often may even see these substances forming in various parts of the house. It may not look like much, but beware. Creosote can cause dangerous situations.
Wood is a good fuel source for any fire. This means that anywhere in the house where it is burned, creosote can build up, and become a fire hazard. Make sure that you clean these areas regularly. Also, you need to check your appliances to see if any of the wiring is near a fireplace. Any spark that comes from the fireplace can cause the cord to burn, and maybe start a fire. You can also minimize the buildup of creosote by using wood that is well-seasoned. Wood that still has a lot of moisture in it releases much more creosote into the chimney than dry wood. That moisture keeps the chimney from burning safely and efficiently. Remember, it can take a long time to properly season wood, so you will need to plan ahead each year during the cold season.
It is important to remember that you can never completely avoid creosote buildup. It is a naturally occurring chemical reaction. The key is to have it removed regularly, so that the buildup doesn’t lead to a dangerous situation. This is precisely why we recommend yearly or twice yearly chimney inspections. These inspections not only keep you safe, but also give you the peace of mind that you are doing everything in your power to keep your family safe.