Not if you’re burning wood – it’s a pretty inevitable byproduct of burning wood. Byproducts are the unburned gases and particles that move up the flue, and as they do, once they get to the walls of the flue system (be it clay flue tiles or stainless steel liners) they begin to cool quickly. There are multiple forms of creosote that may be experienced in one chimney; black or brownish in color and take on multiple forms: tar-like, hard and shiny, or dry and flakey. But there are steps you can take to ensure you are minimizing the build up of creosote in your flue system.

  • Ensure your fire is receiving plenty of air (damper opened all of the to ensure the most efficient draft; no cracks or holes in the flue system which can interfere with the draft – a camera inspection by a certified chimney sweep can and should be performed to ensure the safety and functionality of your chimney’s flue system).
  • Unseasoned wood can also cause conditions ideal for creosote to build up (this is bad). Unseasoned wood is essentially wood that has not been cut and dried for a significant period of time. Wood with greenish tint is an immediate indicator of unseasoned wood, and can potentially contain sap, which is a huge no-no for burning in your fireplace.
  • Keep the fire hot in the firebox – some folks have suggested an “ash-bed” to insulate the fire a bit and keep it hotter. Too much ash is not good, but a thin layer of ash can aid in a hotter fire.

Creosote may be unavoidable, but the chimney fires that are caused by the creosote build-up, are absolutely avoidable. Not sure what a chimney fire is, check out our post on Chimney Fires for more on what a chimney fire is, and how to avoid the dangerous repercussions of a chimney fire (click HERE).

Industry professionals recommend that the chimney be cleaned and inspected at least once annually. All of your chimney sweeps from Brick + Ember Outfitters have been tested and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Proper venting and ensuring your chimney is safely functioning are critical to making your fireplace an enjoyable experience – always.

Give us a call to get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.