What Is Chimney Creosote and How To Avoid It?

Fireplaces are high on the list of many homeowners’ requests’ when they buy a home. Practically everyone enjoys a crackling fire on a cold night and the ambiance a fireplace provides. However, the majority of these people probably don’t even think about the care and upkeep of a fireplace and chimney. A fireplace that hasn’t been cared for properly can lead to several dangers. One of these is the creosote. Today, let’s discuss both what is creosote and how to avoid it in your chimney.

cleaning chimney creosote buildup, carmel inWhat is creosote?

First, let’s define it as we did back in elementary school. Creosote is the byproduct of smoke from the wood you burn. As the smoke travels up and out of your home, it condenses and forms a film that lines the inside of your chimney. This substance has three stages. Each one is progressively more difficult to get rid of and increasingly more dangerous.

The three stages of creosote buildup

Creosote buildup unfolds in three stages.

Stage one creosote

During this stage, you hopefully catch it and get rid of it! This is when it’s still a soot-like substance that can easily be removed with a chimney brush. Everyone who has a fireplace will experience stage one, even when burning properly. Removing it now is the best method of prevention.

Stage two creosote

This refers to when flaky soot begins turning to flaky chunks of tar. Tar is harder to remove. It’s also more dangerous as this substance is now extremely flammable. At this step, you’ll need a more heavy-duty brush and possibly other tools to effectively remove the creosote.

Stage three creosote

During stage 3, the substance grows into a continuous lining of tar. Before you use your fireplace again, you will need a professional chimney sweep ASAP by a member of our Chimney Solutions team. This stage is dangerously flammable, even at lower temperatures. It is also unfortunately highly likely that it won’t be entirely removable and at this point, potentially requires the full replacement of your chimney liner.

professionals chimney cleaning, noblesville inWhy should you remove it? 

You may think that a simple byproduct of your nightly fire isn’t a cause for concern. However, creosote is extremely flammable. This is a recipe for disaster in an area connected to your home that regularly has an open flame and heat.

As it progresses, the creosote thickens and turns into a substance that is difficult to properly remove. Your home is an investment and a respite from the outside world. Proactive care and cleaning will go a long way toward preventing unexpected house fires.

How to minimize creosote

Creosote is inevitable even with the cleanest burning wood. The biggest way to avoid high levels of creosote is to burn dry wood. Avoid new wood that hasn’t had time to season properly.

Another thing to avoid are those prepackaged, artificial logs you see at the store. Sure, they’re convenient in the moment but the after-effects are not something you want to deal with.

Ideally, you want to avoid slow-burning, smoldering fires and aim for hot fires with easy access to fresh air. Why? A slow-burning fire allows for more buildup to accumulate. A high-temperature burn will help the debris burn up.

Lastly, a properly insulated chimney is also important to lessen the amount of creosote. Without it, poor combustion will lead to higher levels of residue.


Creosote build-up needs to be removed as soon as it is discovered to keep your home and family safe. If you haven’t had a chimney sweep in a while, contact the team at Chimney Solutions, LLC to schedule your cleaning and inspection today. You can call us at 317-757-6979 or book an appointment on our website.

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! >>