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Creosote and Your Chimney

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Your chimney and fireplace system has been working to heat your home all winter long. This has been a particularly long winter, and you’ve likely burned more wood than usual. The slow-to-start spring also causes homeowners to continue using the fireplace even when temperatures become milder, sometimes closing the system out for the off-season before having it properly cleaned and inspected.

It’s important to clean up the creosote and soot from inside the fireplace and chimney system so that you aren’t bothered by unwelcome odors this summer, and your system will be ready to use this fall. Creosote and Your Chimney


Creosote is a substance that is produced when organic materials are burned. When wood is burned, for instance, creosote is produced and deposited into the chimney as it rises with the smoke. Properly seasoned firewood produces creosote, but green or wet wood burns incompletely, resulting in more wood being burned and more creosote being produced when it is burned. Creosote is made up mostly of tar, which makes it a sticky, flammable material. This material builds up easily inside the flue and is extremely dangerous when not removed regularly.

Glazed Creosote

If the creosote isn’t removed on a regular basis through a professional chimney sweep, it can quickly become a buildup that obstructs airflow through the chimney. As the air slows in the chimney, more creosote will be deposited inside the flue. These buildups eventually turn into glazed creosote. Glazed creosote is the term used to describe creosote that has been heated over and over again, evaporating the water and leaving a condensed mass of fuel. Glazed creosote is a solid mass with a glassy appearance that is difficult to remove.

Creosote Removal

Your chimney should be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid a drop in efficiency and safety. The chimney works perfectly when air flows properly from the fireplace to the flue opening. As creosote and soot are deposited in the chimney interior, airflow is no longer at its best. The drop in efficiency leads to more creosote buildup. In order to stop the cycle, your chimney system should be cleaned by a professional on a regular basis. A standard chimney sweep will remove all the soot, creosote, and debris that affects your chimney system. Once the creosote reaches level three or glazed buildup, it is more difficult to remove. Instead of using brushes and vacuums to clean the chimney, a chemical is first applied to the glazed creosote. As it’s absorbed, the creosote flakes away and can be brushed and vacuumed out of the system.

When it comes to creosote, you can’t stop it completely, but you can prevent creosote from making your system less efficient, and even dangerous. In order to prevent excessive creosote from affecting your system, make sure your firewood is properly seasoned, never burn trash or clothes in your fireplace, and make sure you use your system properly. Allowing your fire to smolder or lighting a fire in a cold chimney increases the amount of creosote produced by your fire.

In addition to creosote removal, your chimney professionals can also complete routine chimney inspections. If your chimney hasn’t been inspected in the last twelve months, it’s time to call the professionals. Call Magic Sweep to schedule services today.