The Dangers of Creosote Buildup

Here is a quick video as to why its important to maintain a regularly scheduled chimney cleaning.  Creosote buildup can be extremely dangerous and cause a house fire (which in this video was most likely the case).  If you notice any of the signs of discoloration on your roof or around your chimney, its a good idea to have a professional chimney sweep evaluate your stack.

Creosote is the result of the burning of solid fuels such as wood.  When the wood burns it creates a black tar like substance that sticks to the inside of your chimney.  The tar will then concentrate on the cooler surfaces of your chimney and seep out of the cracks and mortar joints usually resulting into a flaky solid or a soot like deposit.

To avoid this rapid creosote buildup stay away from using manufactured logs or fire starters.  These “quick starting fire logs” contain a variety of highly flammable materials that will speed up the creosote buildup.  Always use seasoned wood when lighting a fire in your fireplace.  Also, avoid burning cardboard, excessive amounts of newspaper or your holiday wrapping paper as this will produce a hot fire with long flames.  While they will not last very long, the flames can reach far up into your chimney and ignite the creosote.

If you start to notice excessive smoke backup this is probably caused by a lack of airflow due to creosote buildup (we will assume you have your damper opened).  Should this occur call for an appointment right away.

As you can see in this video, the creosote buildup is truly significant and ultimately led to a chimney fire.  Unfortunately, I come across excessive creosote buildup all too often and it usually requires several treatments.  Serious buildup like this can be extremely dangerous to your home and family.  Maintaining an annual chimney sweep will go along way to keeping your home and family safe.  If you think your wood burning chimney has significant creosote buildup like this, please call us today to setup your free consultation.