Have you heard about creosote? If your home has a chimney, then you should! No, it’s not some kind of fancy delicacy, although it could sound like it. Creosote is inevitable to any chimney, but it doesn’t mean that it’s something you want to have accumulating in the flue.
What is Creosote and Why Get Rid of it?
Creosote is actually one of those chemical by products from burning wood that clings to the inside if your chimney. Generally, a small amount of it will always be present in any chimney with an active fireplace. However, it should not be left unattended or taken too lightly because creosote build-up could be very dangerous. In particular, it will have three levels of build-up, each of which has their own hazards. But the greatest danger of all regarding creosote build-up is the likelihood of developing chimney fires because creosote is flammable. Many times, these fires will go unnoticed within the chimney and further lead to more and more build-up causing a blockage that will interfere with the flow of air out the chimney. This will eventually lead to a dangerous case of carbon monoxide accumulation which is highly toxic. So you can just imagine the myriad of unfortunate events that could stem from unwanted creosote lingering up the chimney flue.
The Levels of Creosote Build-up
At the start, creosote will appear flaky or dusty. This is the first degree of creosote build-up. It is attached to the walls loosely so a good chimney sweeping will be able to do the trick in removing that unwanted residue. But just because it can be easily removed, doesn’t mean it’s harmless. In fact, because it is very loose and also flammable, there is a good chance that dislodged creosote particles could catch a spark and start a chimney fire all the same. So please do make it a habit to have professionals sweep your chimney to ensure that the cleaning is done properly.
The next level of build-up will have a crunchy and tar-like consistency. This is more difficult to remove as it will require more heavy-duty brushes or even a scraper. If nothing is done at this point, then it will progress further into the next stage.
The third stage of creosote build-up is glazed and gummy or hard. It’s almost like candle wax because it drips down your chimney when exposed to certain temperatures. Then it dries out and becomes hard and glossy again and it could potentially mask some structural damages.
Don’t wait for a chimney fire to break out. Please do not hesitate to give us a call and make an appointment with us at Ashbusters. We always want to put safety first and prevent any untoward incident in your home by making sure your chimney is creosote free.