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What Is Creosote?

Our primary goal at Fireplace Service Company is keeping our customers safe when they use their fireplace and chimney systems, and one of the most popular maintenance services we provide to achieve this goal is professional chimney sweepings. When one of our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps cleans your chimney, removing creosote deposits from the inner chimney walls is a top priority. We are often asked by our customers to explain what creosote is exactly, so we thought we would tell you more about this hazardous compound by sharing with you some information from Hearth.com.

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What exactly is creosote and how does it form within my chimney?

Formed naturally during the condensation process of burning wood, creosote is created from the byproducts of combustion, such as smoke, gases, and vapors, as they exit your chimney. Varying in its appearance, creosote can be black or brown, hard and shiny, sticky and gummy, and crispy and brittle. Creosote also comes in various forms. It can be liquid and ooze down your chimney into your fireplace, it can coat your chimney liner in a hard coating, or it can form a fluffy substance that can cause flue blockages.

Why is it so important to have creosote deposits removed from my chimney?

Not only can creosote emit a strong, sour, and acrid odor, but it is an extremely flammable substance. Cited as the main cause of chimney fires, large accumulations of creosote can ignite if exposed to high temperatures.

When is the best time to have creosote removed from my chimney?

Hot, humid weather can worsen the odor of creosote to the point of the smell entering your home. Having your chimney professionally swept by Fireplace Service Company in the summer can guarantee you will not be bothered by the unpleasant scent of creosote. Sweeping your chimney in the summer will also have your fireplace and chimney ready to use in the fall when you are ready to light your first fire of the season.

How can I prevent creosote from accumulating in my chimney?

Even though the formation of creosote is a natural process of burning wood, you can still do a few things to keep creosote from developing in large amounts. You can be sure your firewood supply is thoroughly dried and seasoned as burning wet wood can lead to the acceleration of creosote forming within your chimney. You can also insulate your chimney so that the entire length of your chimney is above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Condensation is less likely to occur in a hot chimney. You can also find wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts that burn up the gases that form creosote in the stove before they reach the chimney. All of these can cut down on the amount of creosote in your chimney, but you should still have your chimney professionally swept once a year to ensure it is working properly and safely.

Have you scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection? Contact Fireplace Service Company to clean out the creosote from the walls of your chimney.

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