What is Creosote and How Can I Prevent it?

What is Creosote?

Creosote is a tar-like substance formed when incomplete combustion of wood and other fuels takes place. It forms readily in chimneys and flues over time but is more likely to build up if you use unseasoned logs in your fire.

Why Is Creosote a Problem?

The trouble with creosote is that it is extremely flammable. Obviously, this may prove to be dangerous if it has built up inside your chimney. Extreme heat may cause it to ignite without warning. This is what is known as a chimney fire.

How Can I Tell If It’s There?

An easy way to spot whether creosote could potentially cause a hazard is to go outside and check if there are any sparks being expelled from the top of the chimney.

There are also signs that can show themselves inside your house. Once wet, Creosote can form an acidic solution that may cause staining on the inside walls in your home.

How Can I Avoid It?

To avoid creosote and soot build-up, always aim to use seasoned wood logs as these contain less moisture. Nevertheless, aim to keep your chimney well-kept by adopting a regular chimney cleaning regimen.

How Can I Remove Creosote?

As Creosote is difficult to remove, it is advisable for you to have your chimney professionally cleaned. Whether or not you have creosote build up inside your chimney, you should aim to have it regularly inspected every quarter if you use your fireplace or stove often. Alternatively, for less frequent use, you should have your chimney swept and inspected every year. Regular cleaning of your chimney will also improve the efficiency of your fireplace as it will remove blockages such as birds nests and cobwebs.

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