Creosote Build-Up: Risks and Solutions
Creosote is a natural by-product of fires in homes around the world. It is emitted into the air as fire burns and, as it accumulates on the interior walls of your chimney, can cause potentially harmful conditions. It’s a sticky substance that requires the assistance of a seasoned professional to remove it. Let’s take a closer look at this substance as well as some of the risks its poses and how we can tackle it.
How does creosote build-up?
Certain woods are more likely to build up debris. Softwoods have higher moisture content which means they emit more of the chemicals that contribute to creosote. Similarly, wet wood that isn’t properly seasoned can speed up accumulation. Additionally, if the chimney isn’t burning hot enough, it is more likely to contribute to build-up.
Is creosote dangerous?
In short, it can be. If it is neglected and continues to build up, it’s a fire hazard as it is highly flammable. It is a very common way for house fires to start. Additionally, if you have a strong fire smell long after having a fire, it may be indicative of creosote build-up. This can have adverse effects on the health of people living in the house, so it’s best to tackle this regularly.
So it’s normal, but how much is too much?
It is true that creosote is a normal and expected part of the fire process. However, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) highly encourages homeowners to professionally clean your chimney annually. If you burn fires more than the typical homeowner, it’s possible that your chimney professional may encourage you to schedule them more frequently. Luckily, with a regular inspection, your chimney professionals can help create a plan that works for your habits and budget.
It’s best to leave the cleaning to licensed, experienced chimney workers. It can be dangerous and unpleasant to treat creosote on your own. But you can play a part as well. Here are some things you can do to limit creosote build-up and keep tidy in between cleanings:
- Brush and use a cleaning log weekly if you’re burning fires regularly. A simple sweep of the bottom of your fireplace can take care of loose, flammable creosote.
- Make sure you’re using seasoned, dry wood. The drier the wood, the quicker it’ll burn and exit the chimney.
- Keep up with your annual chimney cleaning — call them today if you have nothing scheduled!
In need of an annual cleaning?
If you’re in the Burlington area, call Burlington Fireplace to schedule an appointment today! You can reach our experienced team at 262-763-3522.
We expertly service customers throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, including Sturtevant, WI; Union Grove, WI; Des Plaines, IL; and Rockford, IL. You can also contact us online for a free estimate and to get the job started. No matter the build-up or problem, no job is too big for us.