Reduce Your Chance Of Chimney Fire With Our Safe & Effective Creosote Removal Products & Services
Having a wood-burning fireplace, stove, or insert can be a real blessing — especially when the power goes out on a cold night — but one downside to wood is that it produces highly-flammable, destructive, and smelly creosote.
What Is Creosote?
Creosote is a byproduct that’s formed as the smoke, vapor, gas, and other minerals and particles in wood cool and condensate in the chimney system. This byproduct of wood combustion can settle and stick to the walls of the smoke chamber, chimney liner, or stovepipe, building up, fire after fire.
What’s So Dangerous About Creosote?
Creosote settles in the form of a brown or black deposit that’s crusty, flaky, tar-like, drippy, sticky, shiny, or hardened. While all types of creosote are highly flammable and can cause a chimney fire, one type is particularly dangerous: level 3 or third-degree glazed creosote.
Level 3 glazed creosote is the result of layer upon layer of creosote buildup, and is dangerous for the following reasons:
- Glazed creosote is corrosive and can damage the chimney liner, stove pipe, or smoke chamber walls.
- Glazed creosote can reduce the size of the flue as it builds up, slowing the exit of smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion, and leading to a polluted air supply in your home, a poorly performing appliance, and even more creosote buildup.
- Glazed creosote can easily ignite and cause a chimney fire, which can destroy the chimney and quickly spread to other areas of the home.
What Can I Do To Prevent Creosote?
While it’s not possible to completely eradicate creosote problems, there are some things you can do to prevent high levels of creosote production and buildup.
- Make sure your damper is fully opened when your fireplace is in use and that your chimney has enough make-up air to achieve proper draft. Why? The longer the smoke lingers in your chimney flue due to a partially opened damper or poor draft, the more likely you are to have creosote buildup. Additionally, keeping your glass fireplace doors open when the fire is going can help prevent air restriction and creosote buildup.
- Only burn seasoned (properly dried) wood. Unseasoned or green wood contains more moisture and doesn’t burn as completely as seasoned wood, and as a result, it leads to a greater production of creosote.
- Prep your flue by lighting a rolled up newspaper and holding it up in the flue prior to lighting a fire in the fireplace. Cool flue temperatures can encourage creosote buildup, so by warming the flue before your light the fire, you can help prevent the formation of some of that creosote.
- Avoid overloading the firebox of your wood stove, as this can also contribute to creosote buildup.
How Is Creosote Removed?
While some types of creosote can be removed during a normal chimney sweeping service, level 3 creosote cannot be removed using traditional chimney sweeping rods and methods without a little help.
Here at The Chimney Doctor, we use the industry’s safest and most effective creosote removal products to remove even the toughest, most stubborn creosote. Here’s a little bit about each of the products we use and how they work:
- PCR (Poultice Creosote Removal) — PCR is a ChimneySaver product that’s proven to effectively remove level 3 or third degree glazed creosote quickly and safely. The product is applied to the creosote using a sprayer, brush, or specialized tool, and dissolves and absorbs the creosote into itself. Once dry, the product falls and flakes off of the walls of the flue, stove pipe, or smoke chamber, taking down the creosote with it. Any remaining residue can then easily be removed using traditional chimney sweeping tools and methods.
- Cre-Away — Cre-Away is a ChimneySaver product that modifies the makeup of glazed or third degree creosote, reducing its flammability and corrosive properties. Once this powder is applied to the creosote, it begins to neutralize its acidic nature. Next, Cre-Away absorbs the oils and moisture present and reduces creosote’s flammability. Finally, a catalyst in the product works to break down the creosote into a char that can be easily removed by our chimney sweeping rods, brushes, and tools.
When Should Creosote Be Removed?
Because of the dangers creosote poses, it should be removed before you light up the first fire of the season. In fact, we recommend having your chimney swept at the end of the burn season, so that creosote can be removed quickly and isn’t given the entire summer to damage your chimney system and lead to unpleasant smells in your home. This will also reduce your chances of a creosote-related chimney fire and ensure that your chimney is clean, clear, and ready to go on an unexpectedly chilly night.
Creosote Problem? We’ll Take Care Of It!
Creosote significantly increases your chance of a chimney fire, so don’t wait to have your chimney system cleaned. Make annual sweepings and inspections a priority in your home, and let the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps here at The Chimney Doctor keep your chimney in good health. We can remove even the toughest creosote so you can enjoy a safer, healthier, more comfortable home and fireside experience, year after year.
Is creosote a problem in your chimney? Call 970-234-3330 or fill out our online appointment request form to have your chimney inspected and cleaned ASAP!