Can I Prevent Excess Chimney Creosote Buildup?
This is a good question, and it’s one professional chimney technicians get all the time. Preventing excess creosote in the chimney is one of the things over which a homeowner has a lot of control.
First, what is creosote?
Creosote is a flammable byproduct of smoke condensation in your flue. It can be sticky, puffy or solid and is responsible for most chimney fires in the U.S. each year.
In addition to fires, creosote also can cause damage to the chimney liner and/or interior masonry due to its highly acidic nature. Finally, a buildup of creosote in the flue will narrow the smoke passage and can send smoke and dangerous carbon monoxide into your home.
While you can keep creosote production from getting out of hand, you can’t properly clean this substance out of your chimney – for this job, you’ll need an experienced chimney technician with the correct tools and equipment.
How to prevent excess creosote in your chimney
Your job in reducing creosote levels centers on reducing the amount of smoke your fires produce. Here are three strategies to help.
Strategy #1: Burn hardwoods rather than softwoods
Hardwoods such as oak and maple produce far less smoke than pine, juniper and other softwoods. Hardwoods burn hotter and longer and overall are simply better for most uses in the average home.
Strategy #2: Never burn anything except firewood in your fireplace
Don’t burn finished wood, painted wood, magazines, clothing, furniture, household garbage, packing materials, plastics, metals or anything else in your fireplace. These items can produce huge amounts of smoke. Additionally, they burn too hot and deposit harmful toxins into your air.
Strategy #3: Use dry, seasoned wood only
Damp, unseasoned wood is smoky. Dry, properly seasoned wood burns much cleaner and creates much less smoke. If you cut your own firewood, give it at least six months to dry out before using it.
When to call in a chimney professional
The strategies above will allow you to produce less creosote, but they won’t allow you to produce none. You still need to deal with what you do produce, and that is done with the help of a licensed chimney technician.
These individuals have the training and the tools to safely remove stubborn creosote buildups from your flue. Depending on when your chimney was last cleaned, there may be quite a bit of this substance clinging to the walls of the chimney liner and waiting to ignite into a fire.
All chimney companies, fire-safety agencies and hearth organizations strongly recommend annual chimney cleaning for users of wood-burning fireplaces and inserts.
Working hand-in-hand with your chimney pro
By you doing your part and letting your chimney tech do his or her part, you’ll be taking important steps toward a clean, safe and fully operational chimney.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, provides year-round chimney cleaning, chimney inspections and chimney repairs. We’re your best partner in making sure your chimney works as it should.
Speak with a chimney professional today at (781) 383-0415.