Why Creosote in Your Chimney Is Dangerous

The smoke byproduct known as creosote is the #1 cause of chimney fires throughout the Indianapolis region each year. Creosote can also do significant damage to your chimney system, block the drafting of smoke, and lead to respiratory trouble, eye irritation and other health problems in certain individuals. Chimney Solutions of Indianapolis is in the business of chimney sweeping – that means we clean creosote out of chimneys. We’ve seen every kind of creosote in every amount. Here are some things you’ll want to know about the dangers of creosote.

Chimney Sweeping in Lafayette, IndianaCreosote formation

Creosote exists in the smoke that’s created in your fireplace. Excess smoke leads to excess creosote forming inside your flue and sticking to its walls. But it’s not just the amount of smoke that’s a problem. It’s also the quality of the smoke, or, more specifically, what’s in the smoke. When your firebox doesn’t get sufficient air, logs can’t burn robustly like they should. When this happens, the naturally occurring oils in the wood don’t fully burn up. Rather, they move into the smoke, and this is where creosote comes from.

The 3 stages of creosote

Creosote can be found in three different states, or stages:

  • Stage 1: Flaky and light
  • Stage 2: Thick and sticky
  • Stage 3: Solid and very difficult to safely remove

The dangers of creosote

A primary concern with creosote building up in a chimney flue is a chimney fire. Creosote, due to its oily nature, is highly flammable. A chimney fire can be relatively small and go out on its own before it’s noticed. It can also be major – the type of situation that brings fire trucks and paramedics screaming up your street.

Additionally, creosote is highly acidic and can eat away at a chimney liner. The liner is in place to safely channel smoke and gases out of the home. When a chimney liner is cracked or eaten through, heat, flames and potentially deadly carbon monoxide can escape. (Note that rough or marred surfaces in a damaged liner will trap and hold more creosote, adding to the buildup.)

The right way to remove creosote

Professional chimney sweeping is the only method of creosote removal recognized by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and other fire safety and hearth organizations. Trained chimney technicians “sweep” a chimney by using specialized brushes, rods, scrapers, whips, solvents and vacuums. The CSIA and others recommend that working chimneys be swept once a year and that the job be performed only by qualified chimney sweeps.

How to reduce creosote levels in your flue

Just because you schedule annual chimney sweeping doesn’t mean that creosote can no longer be a danger to you and your home.

This is why you should do your part to reduce creosote levels between chimney sweep visits with proper burning practices:

Burn only dry, seasoned firewood. Damp, unseasoned wood contains more oils and moisture, which leads to more smoke and creosote formation.

Chimney cleaning services available in Indianapolis IN

Make sure your fireplace damper is fully open when starting a fire so that plenty of air is drawn through the log stack, causing the wood to burn more completely.

If fires burn sluggishly, you may need to crack a nearby window to supply air for a better draft.

Keep in mind that bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans and certain HVAC systems will create negative air pressure in your house and may impede combustion and drafting.

Call your Indianapolis chimney experts today

Chimney Solutions is standing by to help with certified chimney sweeping, licensed chimney inspections and all types of chimney repair and rebuilding work. Reach us at (317) 757-6979 or get in touch with our handy contact form.

Our Service Area
If you live within 20 miles of Marion County, there’s no need to call any other chimney provider! The team here at Chimney Solutions Indiana will be in our marked trucks and clean uniforms and at your door on time! We travel to Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, Brownsburg, Westfield, Geist, Eagle Creek, Noblesville and all throughout the Indianapolis, IN area.

Our Training & Memberships Keep Us Informed & Knowledgeable

We believe that education and ongoing training is important, which is why we continuously invest in ourselves and our team to deliver better service to you. We’re Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) – certified and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), so whenever advancements are made within the industry, we’re among the first to know about it. When you work with Chimney Solutions, you can expect the latest information and the most advanced services and techniques. We strive to exceed expectations on every job from a routine chimney sweep and chimney cleaning to a full chimney restoration.

Call Chimney Solutions For The Best Possible Chimney Care!
Call Now (317) 757-6979

If you’re ready to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly team member or would like to request an appointment with one of our experienced technicians, give us a call.

We’re committed to providing the best service possible and look forward to serving you and your family, year after year. Call 317-757-6979 to get started! >>