Getting the Gunk Out

Removing Creosote in Your Chimney

Are you having trouble with your chimney? Have you noticed black sticky substance accumulating in there? Are you particularly worried that there might be creosote building up inside? Well, you are right to be concerned. You might be wondering why we should fuss over a thing like that when it seems harmless. But creosote in the chimneys, especially when neglected and allowed to build up, can pose a great danger to you and your family.

What is Creosote?

Don't be alarmed...we can help rid your chimney of creosote buildup. It is a natural byproduct of burning, but becomes dangerous if left to accumulate.

Don’t be alarmed…we can help rid your chimney of creosote buildup. It is a natural byproduct of burning, but becomes dangerous if left to accumulate.

Creosote is unburned material that lingers in your chimney due to wood smoke. It is the residue left after burning wood and is composed of tar and soot. This is dangerous because it can clog your chimney and prevent toxin-filled smoke to stay inside the house instead of coming out. Not only that, it is combustible and can cause deadly fires to occur. Note that creosote cannot be avoided. Perhaps the only way to prevent this from happening is if you don’t use your chimney at all which, in our opinion, defeats the purpose of having a chimney and fireplace in the first place. What you need to do is have it cleaned and regularly.

The Three Stages of Removing Creosote in Your Chimney

There are actually three different stages and degrees of creosote in your chimney. They range from the simplest to the most complex form. As the degree heightens, the kind of equipment used becomes more complex and intricate as well. That is why we follow a system to carefully remove creosote and eventually provide a stable and safe home to live in.

First degree build-up of creosote has a relatively huge amount of soot thus can be easily removed by a professional chimney sweep using a specialized brush. This is typical for open and complete combustion in an open fireplace. This hastens the spread of creosote because of the air that is directed instantly towards the chimney opening and into the outside.

Second degree creosote look like shiny black flakes; like that of typically sized cornflakes only more abundant than what you normally see inside the box. During this stage, the creosote is a bit harder to remove and might need extra time for sweeping and more specialized equipment and chemicals to remove the creosote. Also, at this stage, air becomes more restricted due to the vast accumulation of creosote in your chimney walls. This usually happens when there are glass doors in the fireplace.

But what we mentioned above is nothing compared to a third degree build-up of creosote. At this point, heavy, thick layers of creosote are occupying your chimney walls. This is caused by low flue temperatures and when combustion is incomplete. This happens when:

  • The chimney is cold
  • The house is tightly shut thus preventing fresh air from coming in the home
  • Using moist, unseasoned wood

By now, creosote is all over your chimney walls and becomes thicker by the minute. It is now extremely flammable because of the strong toxins and elements it now possesses. This is when a chimney fire could potentially happen.

It will be difficult to remove the entire residue but rest-assured there are special chemicals that will do the trick for this particular stage, but expect that your chimney will never be the same again. We also suggest that this is also the perfect time to start replacing your chimney liners with a new one.

For others, this might seem like a very big problem that’s too hard to handle. But if you know who to call, getting rid of that filthy creosote will be a cinch. Here at Mason’s Chimney Service & Certified Air Duct Cleaning Incorporated, we are duly licensed and we pride ourselves with the highest standard of work ethic and professionalism. We have over fifty-five years of experience with countless satisfied customers. Call us now and we’ll gladly take on the challenge of removing creosote in your chimney and maintaining the safety in your home.


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Get Out the Gunk

Keeping Creosote Out of Your Chimney

Anyone with a chimney knows that it is important to protect it against certain things, such as animal inhabitants or water damage. However, few homeowners are aware of the dangers of having creosote built up in their chimney. Even fewer know how to properly protect their chimney and their family from the effects of this chemical compound. There are a few simple things any homeowner can do to make sure that creosote does not become an issue in their home.

Creosote is comprised of chemicals that are left behind in the chimney after certain types of treated wood and coal have been burned. When it is allowed to build up in the chimney, it presents a number of dangers. One of the most serious risks is that creosote is highly flammable and greatly increases the risk of a chimney fire. In addition, it can cause internal illnesses as well as physical injuries to anyone who comes into contact with it. It is imperative that creosote is removed from the chimney as quickly as possible — by a certified chimney sweep.

Creosote is a byproduct of burning and if it is left to accumulate, it becomes extremely hazardous.

Creosote is a byproduct of burning and if it is left to accumulate, it becomes extremely hazardous.

The best way to make sure that creosote does not accumulate in the chimney is to keep it clean. This means that the chimney and fireplace should be swept out after each use. In addition, it is necessary to have a certified chimney sweep come and clean out the chimney on an annual basis. Many people choose to do this at the end of the winter season so that the creosote is not sitting there all spring and summer.

It is important to keep in mind that the average homeowner should never attempt to clean the creosote on his or her own. Coming into contact with the substance can cause serious eye and skin irritations and, if inhaled, it can cause serious respiratory issues. A trained chimney sweep will know how to safely rid the chimney of the creosote and her or she will have the tools to do it properly. Although small fireplace and chimney maintenance can be done at home, a professional cleaning is a must for the sake of everyone’s safety.

Another way to reduce the amount of creosote in the chimney is to only burn appropriate materials in the fireplace. This means only wood intended for use in a fireplace that has been seasoned for at least eight months. All other materials will produce chemicals that add to the amount of creosote in the chimney. In addition, they often burn too hot and start fires that can be extremely dangerous for everyone in the home.

Many homeowners wonder how they would even know that they have an issue with creosote. If there is a strange odor coming from the fireplace, there is a good chance that there is an excessive amount of creosote in the chimney. When there is a great deal of creosote, homeowners often notice that their chimneys are smoking excessively as well. Although it can be a dangerous problem to have, the good news is that it is fairly easy to tell if creosote might be an issue.

Becoming aware of the dangers of creosote is the first step to preventing it in the home. All homeowners should realize the seriousness of the situation and do everything they can to keep the substance from building up in their chimneys. Only burn the appropriate materials in the fireplace and be sure to maintain the chimney with a professional cleaning each year.

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