Fireplaces are safe to use, provided that you use them right. That means more than being careful when building up your fire, stoking it, and cleaning out the hearth. It also means having your chimney cleaned regularly by trained, qualified professionals. Why? Because if you ignore this vital service long enough, it’s not just the performance of your fireplace that will suffer. It could also very well be your safety. We are not just saying this to alarm you.
We are going to talk a bit about creosote today, so that you understand what it is, why it builds up, and why you need to have it cleaned out of your chimney. Failure to do so can put you and your family in a dangerous situation, and it won’t be the fault of the fireplace. It will be user error, if not total negligence. So read on, contact us with any questions that you may have, and remember that you can count on our team for great chimney cleaning services in Minneapolis, MN.
What Is Creosote?
Something that you cannot avoid if you are using a wood-burning fireplace or stove, unfortunately. There is a lot to be said for burning wood for heat. That’s why it is still a viable practice despite all of the different technologies available to us today. However, the generation of creosote is hard not to hold up as a strike against it.
Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, and it will get stuck to the lining of your chimney. This black, tarry substance really takes hold once it starts to build up. The issue with creosote is not so much that it restricts airflow through your chimney as the passageway narrows, though. No, the primary concern is that creosote is so flammable.
Because your fireplace is literally a heat source dependent upon open, roaring flame, it is pretty self-explanatory as to why having combustible material in your chimney is so dangerous. Does this mean that you are doomed to experience a chimney fire the moment that creosote starts to build up? No. But skipping even one chimney cleaning could allow creosote to build up enough that you are putting yourself and everyone else in your home in real danger.
Level 3 Creosote Is an Even Bigger Problem
When a chimney is left uncleaned long enough, or if the fireplace and chimney are poorly designed, level 3 creosote can eventually build up. Level 3 creosote is not just a higher concentration of creosote in the chimney. It is also creosote that is much more difficult to remove from the chimney.
It may require specific methods to be employed, and these may even include chemical applications to free up the creosote from the hold that it has on your chimney. You really want to keep up with chimney cleaning, because you really don’t want to find yourself in a spot where level 3 creosote has built up in your home.