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Watch Out for Creosote!

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Dangers of Creosote

What is creosote, anyway?

When wood does not burn completely, it produces creosote, a vapor comprised of unburned gases that turn into a tar-like substance that coats the inside lining of the chimney flue. It is corrosive, combustible, and has a bad odor. All chimneys have creosote buildup from use, and need to be cleaned regularly to reduce the risks of fire and damage to your chimney.

Creosote is a residue left over after burning. It is extremely flammable and if allowed to build up inside the chimney, can cause fires.

Creosote is a residue left over after burning. It is extremely flammable and if allowed to build up inside the chimney, can cause fires.

Creosote sticks to the inside wall of your chimney flue and builds up. This can create blockage, increasing the heat inside the chimney and igniting a fire for which creosote is the perfect fuel. It is also corrosive, and can damage or crack the flue lining, making it susceptible to water and other issues that result in expensive repairs. Having your chimney inspection and cleaning performed by a certified sweep in the spring to remove creosote keeps it from corroding from sitting there during spring and summer months.

Does every fire produce creosote?

No matter how perfect a fire you build, it can never be creosote-free. There are, however, good measures you can take to reduce the amount of creosote produced by your fires. You can minimize creosote buildup by burning only seasoned, dry wood. Wood should be seasoned at least 6-9 months, and hard woods like oak, ash, maple are ideal.

Burning small, hot fires will reduce smoke, and therefore creosote. While you might be tempted to build a bigger fire that lasts longer, this actually increases buildup, since the wood is not able to burn at a high enough temperature to burn clean. Stoke your small fire frequently to keep the fire hot.

Annual inspection and cleaning is always a necessary component in keeping your chimney creosote-free, safe, and efficient. Bulldog Chimney Sweeps serve west Colorado and are certified and highly qualified to help you with all your chimney care and repair. Give us a call today at 970-872-2333.