What is Creosote Buildup? How to Keep Your Chimney Safe.

What is Creosote Buildup? How to Keep Your Chimney Safe.

Are you wondering what creosote buildup is and if it might be a threat to the safety of your chimney? We will explain the different phases of creosote and how to prevent it from building up in your chimney.

Having your chimney swept and inspected annually will help manage and prevent the creosote buildup. At Boston’s Best Chimney, we are here to help you prepare your chimney for the winter. Click here to schedule an appointment today!

The CSIA’s Take on Creosote

The Chimney Safety Institute of America explains that creosote is usually dense to begin with, collecting in the chimney from incomplete combustion or an especially high moisture content in wood. Check out their video which shows different forms of creosote and explains why not only wood burners, but also other types of chimneys need to be concerned about having a chimney fire:

The Phases of Creosote 

As the CSIA video shows, creosote has different Phases. As creosote progresses in its phases, it becomes more and more difficult to clean.

In its first phase, creosote is mostly made up of soot and a chimney brush can remove it. This type of creosote usually forms in ideal conditions: in open fireplaces where the wood combusts well and heat rises throughout the chimney.

chimney inspection for creosote build up

Phase two creosote usually forms in wood fireplaces, fireplaces with glass doors, and other situations where airflow is restricted. It is harder and flakier than phase one creosote, and it normally forms more densely. You can usually still clean off phase two creosote with a chimney brush, though it is more difficult to do so.

How to Prevent Creosote Buildup

Thankfully, there are many ways that you can prevent creosote buildup, enabling you to sit back and enjoy your fireplace without the worry of safety issues. Here are some of our tips for preventing creosote.

  1. Burn seasoned and dry firewood. Firewood that is old and dried out will produce less smoke than firewood that is new and moist.
  2. Do not burn artificial wood. Artificial wood causes more combustion byproducts than real wood, which increases creosote.
  3. Make sure that your chimney is warm. Creosote does not solidify as much in warm air, so keeping your chimney warm will help prevent creosote buildup.
  4. Give your fire adequate oxygen. Ensure that your fire will have enough oxygen by opening the damper before lighting it.
  5. Get your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year. This will dramatically decrease your risk of a chimney fire. A professional chimney sweep will detect any problems that your chimney may have and clean creosote buildup.

Creosote is difficult to manage and often dangerous. Understanding how to prevent creosote buildup and getting your chimney inspected and cleaned at least annually is essential to keeping your home safe and your chimney in good order. If you are interested in getting your chimney inspected or cleaned, click here to set up an appointment.

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