Tips for Preventing Creosote Buildup in Your Chimney

Creosote buildup in the chimney is a natural consequence of burning wood in your fireplace. Creosote buildup can be dangerous if it’s allowed to build up because it can result in a chimney fire that can spread to your home. That’s why it’s important to not only have a chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, clean the chimney, but to prevent buildup as much as possible. Here’s what you need to know about creosote and how you can minimize its buildup in the chimney.

Creosote Stages

It’s important to understand the different stages of creosote because as it progresses to different stages it, becomes more dangerous and difficult to remove. The first stage is easily cleaned off the chimney with a chimney brush. It looks like a flaky, soot-colored dust that covers the inside of the chimney. If left alone, it will begin to harden and become stage two creosote. Stage two looks like shiny, hard, black flakes that look like tar. Stage three is the most dangerous type of creosote because it becomes a hard, thick layer that’s basically concentrated fuel, so the conditions for a fire to start are ideal. Creosote is very difficult to remove when it gets to this stage.

Minimizing Creosote Buildup

Of course, it’s impossible to completely avoid creosote in the chimney if you’re using the fireplace at all. However, there are a few conditions that make it easier for the creosote to build up more quickly, so by avoiding these conditions you can slow down the buildup.

Avoid Unseasoned Wood

Be sure to only use completely dry, seasoned wood in the fireplace. That means you’ll need to avoid any wood that’s been cut recently, typically within the last six months to a year. That’s how long it usually takes for cut wood to get down to a low enough moisture content to burn effectively and as hot as it should. Unseasoned wood is more likely to smolder, which contributes to buildup.

Avoid Smoldering

Don’t burn low, smoldering fires in the fireplace. These types of fires have more combustion by-products that will go up the chimney and more quickly become creosote buildup.

Burn Hot

Rather than burning a low fire, make sure you burn hot fires, which means they need plenty of air. Some fireplace inserts or glass doors can actually restrict airflow. Make sure your fireplace has a good flow of air because the hotter a fire burns, the fewer by-products there will be. You’re less likely to have second-degree creosote problems when you burn hot fires.

Don’t Use Packaged Logs

Artificial, packaged logs usually claim to produce less creosote than natural logs, but this usually isn’t the case. These artificial logs often produce more combustion gases, which creates larger amounts of creosote. Only use natural wood in your fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Keep Chimney Warm

A poorly insulated or cooler-than-normal chimney also contributes to a faster build up of creosote because the condensation will build up more quickly, creating more deposits. Warm the flue up by lighting the end up rolled up newspapers and holding them in the mouth of the chimney until you feel the air warm up.

Sweep the Chimney

Finally, it’s important to have a chimney sweep in Atlanta clean the chimney regularly so that the creosote buildup can’t progress past stage one. Call Atlanta Chimney Doctor today to schedule your next chimney cleaning.