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How Can I Tell if There Is Too Much Creosote in My Chimney?

There are a number of toxic byproducts produced by combustion, and one of them is creosote. Creosote is a sticky, highly-flammable substance that forms when the gases from combustion combine and cool, and if you have a fireplace, creosote will cling to the inside of your chimney. Any amount of creosote can cause a problem for your fireplace, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to schedule annual chimney cleaning in St. Paul. We are officially in fireplace season, and if you have started to use yours but haven’t had your chimney swept in more than 12 months, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today.

Creosote Stages

There are 3 stages of creosote that can develop with a fireplace and chimney. These stages are known as Stage One, Stage Two and Stage Three and each is used to describe how heavy the creosote build-up is:

  • Stage One – creosote in Stage One is the easiest to remove as it is comprised mostly of soot. A thorough cleaning with a chimney brush can remove Stage One creosote and restore the chimney to a clean state.
  • Stage Two – Stage Two creosote typically consists of hard, black flakes. This is because this type of creosote contains tar that has hardened. Stage Two creosote can be removed, but it requires the use of a tool known as a rotary loop. Because Stage Two creosote is hard, it can start to restrict the air flow in your chimney, which will affect how your fires burn.
  • Stage Three – the heaviest and most difficult of all creosote build-up, Stage Three creosote is very hard to remove and may require replacing your chimney liner. This type of creosote build-up looks like a coating of tar on the inside of your chimney, and it can easily catch on fire.

Signs of Creosote Build-Up

  • Reduced drafting in fireplace
  • Less ash and more wood in fireplace after a fire
  • Black soot in and around fireplace
  • Very dark smoke from chimney
  • You can visibly see more than 1/8 of an inch of soot build-up

Any amount of creosote can cause you problems, so if you are seeing the signs of build-up, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule a chimney cleaning in St. Paul.

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