Combustion heat always creates byproducts – some of them toxic – whether the combustion is in a simple fire pit in your backyard or a fireplace insert in your living room. Combustion byproducts can be gases, vapors, fumes, ash and soot, but there is one byproduct that can lead directly to chimney fires: creosote.
What Is It?
Creosote is a sticky, corrosive and highly flammable substance that is created when the noxious gases and vapors from combustion cool below 250 degrees. When the gases cool to this temperature level, they liquefy, combine with soot and ash, and become the substance known as creosote. The sticky nature of creosote allows it to cling to the inside of your chimney, creating a highly flammable, dangerous build-up that can ignite.
Stages of Creosote
When a professional chimney cleaner assesses the level of creosote build-up in your fireplace, he/she will refer to the build-up as being Stage One, Stage Two or Stage Three:
- Stage One – Stage One creosote is the easiest and least problematic as it is mostly comprised of soot; this means it is also the easiest to remove.
- Stage Two – Stage Two creosote is black and flaky, and this is because the tar in the creosote has hardened. This level of creosote build-up can cause air restriction and pose the risk of a chimney fire.
- Stage Three – a Stage Three creosote level is a very serious situation. This level of creosote looks and acts like a layer of tar and is very hard to remove; it is also extremely flammable and likely to cause a chimney fire. It may be necessary to replace the lining in a chimney that has Stage Three creosote.
Schedule Annual Chimney Cleaning
Preventing chimney fires is one of the most important reasons to schedule an annual chimney cleaning in in Carver County. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last chimney cleaning and you are having problems with drafting, soot and ash, call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.
Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS