Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

Creosote Buildup is Dangerous


Creosote is an unavoidable result of fireplace use so, if the fireplace is more than just a decorative feature, creosote will be in the chimney. It can be there in any or all of three forms, or stages, of development, and the sooner it is gone, the better. In addition to being traps for many of those horrible smells that linger in fireplaces, creosote is also extremely corrosive.

Stage 3 Creosote - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Stage 3 Creosote – Image Courtesy of The Mad Hatter Chimney Service in Indianapolis, IN.

Danger in All Three Forms of Creosote

Every time smoke goes up the chimney, it carries what will become creosote with it, which is commonly known as soot. This is the first stage of creosote development, and the easiest for chimney sweeps to deal with. When the fire goes out and the chimney cools, the tars in soot condense on the walls of the flue liner.

Enter stage two, when creosote is a sticky, tar-like, corrosive substance on the chimney walls. This gooey gunk eats away at the flue liner, exposing it to moisture which then completely compromises the chimney’s integrity. The primary danger that creosote poses in spring and summer is the steady corrosion of the flue by the stage two goo dried into porous chunks of gunk.

Stage three unfolds when the gunk solidifies into a hard shiny buildup, known as chimney glaze, which is extremely difficult to remove. Under no circumstances can a fire be lit in a fireplace with stage-three creosote in the chimney, unless you are trying to burn the house down. Indeed, another danger of creosote buildup is a chimney fire, with its loud roar and menacing shake of the structure.

Time to Go

As the seasons change, and we get ready to do our spring cleaning and yard work, it is important to remember to schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection. Not only will our homes smell fresher, but our chimneys will be ready to handle the showers and downpours and steady drumbeats of rain that are coming. With corrosive creosote removed, their dangers are a thing of the past, until the next time the fireplace is used.



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