Keeping your fireplace properly maintained is essential, especially if you use it frequently. One of the biggest things for fireplace owners to watch out for is creosote buildup. Creosote is a by-product of wood fires and can be dangerous if it isn’t removed regularly. Let’s take a closer look at what creosote actually is and how to prevent it from building up.
Creosote is a by-product of wood-burning fireplaces. You won’t find creosote buildup with gas or electric fireplaces. Creosote happens when you have incomplete combustion. When the fire doesn’t get enough oxygen, it won’t completely burn the oils on your wood. These oils then combine with smoke, water, and any other chemicals present to dry and form creosote on the inside of your fireplace and chimney.
Creosote seems harmless at first, but over time, it can become very dangerous. When creosote first forms, it has a flaky texture and is very easy to clean. However, creosote will eventually harden into a thick, tar-like substance that is very difficult to scrape off. There are a few reasons why creosote buildup is so dangerous. The first is that creosote is highly flammable. If you have a large amount of creosote in your chimney, it could result in an accidental house fire. Additionally, creosote itself can be a health risk. Over time, creosote buildup can irritate your skin, eyes, and lungs.
On top of that, creosote’s thick, tar-like texture can cause blockages in your chimney. This prevents smoke and other gases from escaping when you use your fireplace. In the worst case scenario, this can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are things that you can do to prevent creosote from building up in your fireplace and keep your family safe when you are using it. The best thing is to make sure that you are using dry, seasoned firewood. Fresh firewood contains more moisture and is more likely to result in incomplete combustion. Never burn anything in your fireplace that isn’t firewood – not only is it dangerous, but it can result in even more creosote buildup.
Another way to prevent creosote buildup is to sweep your fireplace after each use, while the creosote is still flaky. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting your chimney cleaned by a professional each year. They can remove creosote from your chimney that you wouldn’t be able to reach or remove on your own. They also have special scraping tools that are designed to remove creosote that is in stages 2 or 3. By keeping your chimney properly maintained, you’ll be able to keep the creosote buildup in check. At A1 Chimney, we offer chimney maintenance and repair services throughout southern middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 931-967-3595 in Tennessee or 256-285-4895 in Alabama, or contact us online.