If you have ever wondered why you need to have your chimney professionally swept every year, the main reason for this recommended maintenance service has to do with removing creosote. Formed naturally during the condensation that occurs as the byproducts of combustion exit out of the chimney, creosote deposits stuck to the interior chimney walls are a fact of life when you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove. However, just because this residue is natural does not mean it is harmless. Creosote is so flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named the compound as a leading cause of chimney fires. This is why when the CSIA-certified chimney sweeps from Ashbusters sweep your chimney, great care is taken to ensure every bit of creosote has been removed from the inner walls of your chimney. Fire safety is our top priority, which is why we work so hard to reduce your risk of a chimney fire. We would like to answer a few frequently asked questions about creosote.
What does creosote look like?
Creosote varies in its appearance, depending on the stage of its formation. Its color can be black or brown, and its texture ranges from sticky and tar-like to crunchy and brittle to shiny and hardened, which is the hardest form of creosote to remove. When Ashbusters finds a hard and shiny layer of creosote on a chimney wall, we use specialized mechanical tools to break it away from the wall. No matter what the appearance may be, creosote is always highly flammable.
How does creosote ignite into a chimney fire?
Over a long and cold winter, the amount of creosote accumulations can become sizable. When this happens, all it takes is the internal temperature of the flue getting hot enough for those deposits to ignite into flames. The more creosote that is inside a chimney, the more dangerous and widespread the fire. This is why the CSIA and other national fire safety groups recommend having your chimney swept before lighting your first fire in the fall.
How can I slow down the development of creosote in my chimney?
One of the most important things you can do to decrease the amount of creosote produced is to only burn seasoned firewood, which is wood that has been allowed to dry for at least six months after being cut. Burning wet wood greatly accelerates the production of creosote. You should also be careful not to restrict the air supply by not completely opening the damper. This increases the amount of time the byproducts of combustion remain inside the chimney. Overloading the firebox with too much wood can also speed up and increase the amount of creosote development.
Lower your risk of a chimney fire this winter. Contact us at Ashbusters to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping service today.