What is creosote?
Wood is never burned completely. The smoke contains some unburned gases and a vapor like fog of unburned tar like liquids. These condense along the sides of the stove pipes or chimney and become a flammable, crusty build-up called creosote.
Why clean my chimney?
You should clean your chimney regularly to remove creosote from the lining of the flue. Creosote is a highly flammable residue that builds up over time from combustion in your chimney. Chimneys should be cleaned when any noticeable creosote buildup occurs. The Chimney Safety Institute of America claims that as little as ¼” of buildup is enough to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.
Cleaning your chimney also reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. Creosote is black or brown in appearance and it can be crusty and flaky, tar-like, drippy and sticky, or shiny and hardened.
PREVENT FIRES: CLEAN YOUR CHIMNEY REGULARLY!
In 2007, there were 48,800 heating related home fires, resulting in 301 deaths, 1,383 injuries, and $606.5 million in property damage (NFPA).
How often do I need to clean my chimney?
It is recommended that your chimney be cleaned frequently. The National Fire Protection Association recommends cleaning and inspection of chimneys at least once a year, more if you use your fireplace regularly. This applies to both wood-burning and gas fireplaces! Even if you do not use your fireplace, your chimney should still be cleaned and inspected as animals may build nests in the flue.
Why Should I be concerned about maintaining/ repairing my chimney?
A Chimney or firebox left unrepaired can:
• Release dangerous, toxic, and unhealthy gases into your home.
• Allow flames and sparks to escape and come in contact with potentially combustible materials in your home. It is a real fire hazard.
• Allow loose masonry materials to fall and potentially cause damage to your property or people.
• The longer repairs are put off the worse damage will get, costs can increase dramatically if left unfixed. Call today and save money right away!
Why is creosote a problem?
Creosote presents at least three major problems to the wood burner. Creosote is corrosive to many surfaces, including steel and mortar which are common chimney materials. Creosote build-up acts as an insulating material and reduces the efficiency of your wood stove or fireplace. Finally and most critical, creosote is highly flammable and presents a potential fire hazard.
What factors affect creosote build-up?
Many factors affect the rate and amount of creosote build-up:
• Type of wood burned
• Amount of moisture in the wood
• Type of fire burned
• Efficiency of stove
• Location of flue
• Type of stove or fireplace
• Amount of use
How often should a fireplace be cleaned?
Because of the various factors involved, there isn’t a general answer appropriate to most cases. Some locations, such as certain states have laws requiring yearly cleaning but, each wood burning unit is different. If you notice back-drafting or smoking or losing heat, you certainly check for creosote build-up immediately. Periodic checking is essential for safe efficient wood burning. A rule of thumb is… If its your main source of heat you need to have your fireplace or woodstove cleaned and inspected yearly !!
How do I check for creosote build-up in my wood stove or fireplace?
Carefully open the damper and, using a flashlight, look up the flue for signs of a build-up along the walls. Goggles are suggested for this. If the build-up is ¼” or more, a cleaning is needed. It only takes approx. a ¼” of buildup to be a fire hazard !
How can Chimcare help me?
We know and understand fireplaces and chimneys and how to clean them. We literally scrub your fireplace from floor to roof using tools specifically designed for that purpose. We are professionally trained and fully licensed and insured. (This is important to you) We guarantee a mess-proof job. And, finally, we are a local business. Our roots are here in the community and we take pride in this. If your chimney needs cleaning, then we act like a good neighbor and tell you so. If we think your installation is unsafe, we think you’ll like to know that, too! Call today and have a peace of mind knowing your family and home are safe this winter !
Do chimney sweeps really bring good luck?
We really don’t know. According to folklore, they do. We can, however, prevent bad luck…the bad luck and misfortune of a chimney fire!