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Understanding Creosote Build-Up: Risks and Solutions

If you own a fireplace or a wood-burning stove, you have heard the word creosote. But did you know that there are different classifications of creosote? You have heard that it is a toxic substance. It is produced when you burn wood in your fireplace. It is a tar-like substance that sticks to the sides of your chimney when you have a fire. There is a lot more to know about creosote and how to limit it.  

creosote build up in Groveville NJThere are three different degrees of creosote buildup.  Let’s discuss each one.

First Degree Creosote

This is stage one. Creosote starts as a black flaky substance that can be easily removed. You can use a fireplace brush to clean the flakes during this stage. As you burn wood in your fireplace the creosote will continue to build up. As time goes by the creosote will build up, to the point where you will need a chimney sweep to help clean it. 

Second Degree Creosote

This is stage two. Once you get to this stage the creosote looks more like a thick tar substance with some flakes. You can see it within the walls of the chimney. At this point, it will be very difficult to remove the creosote on your own. Give us a call at Mercer County Chimney Service and have the creosote removed with a chimney sweep.

Third Degree Creosote

The final stage, stage three. This is the most dangerous stage. Once the creosote gets to this stage, the creosote is very thick and concentrated. When creosote gets to this point a chimney fire may occur. It is very important to call Mercer County Chimney Service and book a chimney sweep. At this stage it is almost impossible to tackle this on your own. The chimney liner may be damaged as well. A new liner may be an option. 

Dangers of Creosote in the Chimney

  • Smoke and air cannot vent out once there is a collection of creosote buildup in your chimney. This can be very dangerous to your family if inhaled. 
  • With this degree of creosote, the concern is for a chimney fire. Creosote is highly flammable. 
  • Health hazard. A toxic gas, Carbon monoxide is produced when wood is burned and creosote builds up in the chimney.  The fumes can be deadly if inhaled in large amounts.

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What To Do To Limit Creosote

It is very important to burn the hardest wood.  When choosing wood be sure that it is dry and seasoned as well. Well-seasoned wood will burn the hottest. This will avoid the over-exposure of creosote to the chimney. 

You will want to have your chimney inspected and get a sweep each year. Follow these requirements and you will have a safe burning season. 

If you need a chimney sweep, call the experts at Mercer County Chimney Services at 609-802-5288. We are available for appointments at your availability. Our experts will inspect and discuss the options for your chimney. 

Mercer County Chimney Service is the top-rated chimney and fireplace contractor in New Jersey and Mercer County. Our technicians are fully licensed and certified for your peace of mind. Whether you need winter-proofing, chimney inspections, maintenance, cleaning, rebuilding, or fireplace installation, you can count on our years of experience.