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We know you care about keeping your family safe. One way to keep your family safe while at home is to minimize the likelihood of a deadly chimney fire. One way to minimize this risk is to make sure you do not allow creosote to accumulate.
For homeowners with chimneys, there is one other thing that they worry about specifically – creosote. According to our team of experts here at Lords Chimney, more than 70% of the inquiries and concerns we receive from our loyal customers involve creosote in some form or fashion. So what exactly is creosote anyway?
If you look online you’ll see a lot of definitions filled with scientific jargon that would just confuse you a lot more than you may already be. But the definition from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry describes and defines creosote in a simple and uncomplicated way. According to the ATSDR, creosote is basically the chemical byproduct of burning. There are different varieties of creosote. There’s the Wood, Coal Tar Pitch, Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles and Coal Tar. But basically they are all referred to collectively as creosote.
Although seemingly harmless during the beginning stages, creosote can quickly become extremely dangerous when left alone. You see, since it is a byproduct of burning, this means that it would constantly be produced whenever there’s burning of any kind in your chimney system. Once it is produced, it sticks to various parts of the fireplace and chimney. If it accumulates further, it becomes this thick volatile layer that is one of the number one culprits of chimney and house fires.
The best thing we can do to prevent things from getting out of hand is to properly maintain your chimney. Schedule regular inspections and cleanings to make sure that creosote build-up never gets a chance to reach threatening levels, which, in turn, would guarantee safety for your home and your family. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a phone and schedule an appointment right now. You can count on us for quality and dependable chimney and fireplace services. Lords Chimney is ready to help!
Everything You Need to Know About Creosote
What is Creosote?
Creosote is a chemical byproduct that is produced after the distillation of tar. So when wood is burned, creosote is produced. It is known for its preservative properties and for being anti-septic. There are basically two types of creosote; the wood-tar, and the coal-tar. The wood-tar creosote, being less toxic, is commonly used in meat preservation, wood treatment and for medicinal purposes. When used medicinally, it is commonly utilized as an astringent, anesthetic, expectorant, laxative and anti-septic. The coal-tar creosote is more commonly used in wood preservation because of its toxic properties.
Creosote in Chimney
There are several stages that the creosote in your chimney that you may experience. First is its’ soot: a flaky form that is easy to remove leaving the flue walls unobstructed. Second: the stage where it leaves brittle and hard deposits that are a bit more difficult to remove. The third is the glazed stage where it becomes dangerous and much more difficult to remove. Once you notice the dense, dark and shiny tar-like appearance, then this would indicate that the creosote has reached its glazed stage. There will always be some level of creosote in your chimney – as it is a natural byproduct of burning, but it doesn’t need to be left to accumulate.
The longer creosote is ignored…the greater the possible danger. Creosote is highly flammable and is a leading cause of chimney fires. You may see products, such as a log that is supposed to remove creosote while burning. Not only is this difficult to gauge in its effectiveness, it may also cause chunks of creosote to fall down your flue and get stuck along the way. Because of the fire risk, you should leave creosote removal to a professional.
To avoid higher risk for a catastrophe, don’t wait for your chimney to reach a disastrous level of creosote build-up. It is best to schedule regular chimney inspections and sweeping on an annual basis. This way you know you are not letting the buildup become a hazard. This also prolongs your chimney’s lifespan.
We hope that this has been helpful and sufficient in answering your questions about creosote. So now you are fully equipped with the knowledge to better protect and improve your home. If you have a chimney, make sure to have it checked regularly and make it a habit to schedule a regular inspection and sweeping by a chimney professional.