Your fireplace is a warm, cozy, and unique feature of your home. Not only do you want to keep your fireplace in top-notch condition, but you also want to make sure your family and your home stay safe while you’re enjoying all of the benefits of your fireplace.

There are many potential hazards that people don’t consider when thinking about fireplace maintenance. One of these dangers is creosote, which can build up in your fireplace and lead to serious issues that can affect your family and your home.

What Is Creosote?

Creosote is a flammable substance composed of tar that is made when you burn wood in your fireplace. At first, a thin layer attaches to the bricks or chimney liner of a fireplace. Over time, it continues to multiply upon itself until it completely coats the inside of the chimney.

What Are the Dangers of Creosote?

When creosote builds up in your chimney, it creates a narrow passageway that can lead to an endless cycle of growth. A buildup can also lead to a chimney blockage, which causes smoke and carbon monoxide to flow back into your home. If the thick layers of creosote catch sparks, they can cause a chimney fire that can spread to your roof or start a fire inside your home.

How Does Creosote Build up in Your Chimney?

It builds up in your chimney in three stages. In the first stage, the creosote is thin, flaky, and made of soot. This is the result of good combustion in an open fireplace with high temperatures and an open ventilation system. In the second stage, the flakes become thick with tar. This builds up when wood is burned in a more restricted area, such as in a wood stove or a fireplace with glass doors. In the third and worst stage of buildup, the tar becomes sticky and oily. This is due to poor or incomplete combustion and low temperatures. 

How Can You Prevent Creosote Buildup?

It becomes more difficult to remove as it builds up over time. In the early to middle stages of buildup, a professional chimney sweep can easily brush away. Occasionally, chemical solvents and rotary loops may be required for removal if the buildup is significant. Once the buildup has entered the third stage, the normal removal methods won’t get rid of the highly concentrated material. In this case, the chimney liner may need to be completely removed or replaced. Luckily, the professionals at Brick + Ember Outfitters Indianapolis are skilled in removing buildup during all of the above stages.

It’s easy to keep creosote buildup under control if you stay on top of the problem. The best way to prevent the buildup of creosote is to hire a professional chimney sweep who can properly inspect and clean your fireplace. Contact us to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment today.