Creosote Buildup in Chimney

Creosote Buildup in Chimney

Have you ever noticed a black residue in your chimney, which seems to worsen every time you burn wood? That substance is called creosote, which is mostly comprised of tar. Creosote tends to buildup overtime inside your chimney and can cause harmful health effects.


What do I do if I have creosote buildup?

Creosote must be removed to keep your chimney clear and your family safe. Typically the degree to which your buildup exists will vary. Here we’ll discuss the three stages of creosote buildup found in chimneys.


First Degree of Creosote

Do you have an open fireplace? A new fireplace? What are your flue gas temperatures and overall combustion of wood? If the temperature is high and the combustion of wood is good, you’re probably in this first category.

You can remove the soot with a chimney brush, or have a professional chimney sweep do it for you.


Second Degree of Creosote

Do you have a woodstove or fireplaces with glass doors? When the incoming air is restricted, the degree of creosote buildup will increase.

You may notice shiny black flakes. That is the dry, hardened tar that exists in the cases of greater creosote buildup. You probably won’t be able to effectively brush this away on your own.

Our recommendation is to call a professional such as Fireplace ‘n’ Fixins to help you safely and efficiently remove the hazard.


Third Degree of Creosote Buildup

Have you experienced a chimney fire before? Subsequent fires can be even worse, and third degree buildup is harder to remove. Here are factors to be aware of:

Do you have an uninsulated chimney? Is the flue oversized for the appliance? Is combustion air sufficient? Any of these conditions can put you at risk for serious creosote buildup and worse—chimney fires.


Scenarios of greatest risk include:

  • Incomplete combustion and flue temperatures are dangerously low
  • Woodstoves with air controls that are not working properly
  • Appliances with controls that are turned down


What to look for with third degree buildup:

  • Tar coating or covering and running down the inside of the chimney
  • Thick, hardened tar that is being recoated again and again
  • Tar buildup that is an inch or more thick


Call Fireplace ‘n’ Fixins!

Not sure if your fireplace has creosote buildup? Or to what degree? Reach out to Fireplace ‘n’ Fixins today. We’ll be happy to lend a hand to assess your chimney and get you that peace of mind you need.