It’s a naturally occurring byproduct of burning wood and it lingers in your chimney until you remove it.
As the moisture from the wood mixes with the smoke that burns, it creates a tar-like substance that sticks to the inside of your flue. That’s Creosote.
Since creosote is highly flammable, it is a leading cause of house fires.
Luckily there are things that you can do to minimize that risk. And that’s what we’ll talk about in today’s post.
What is Creosote?
When you use your fireplace, your goal should be to move the fuel (oil, natural gases, wood, pellets, etc.) through all four stages of combustion as completely as possible.
If not, you’ll get more creosote.
1 – Only Burn Seasoned Wood
Seasoned wood is dry wood.
Fresh cut wood is packed with moisture that makes it difficult to burn. This produces a dense, black smoke filled with combustion by-products.
Your wood should have somewhere between 15-25% moisture content.
2 – Don’t Burn Artificial Logs
Artificial logs produce more combustion byproducts than regular wood. This will significantly increase the creosote build-up.
3 – Build Hot, Clean Burning Fires
Stacking your firewood with enough space in between the logs to allow for oxygen to circulate will produce a much hotter, cleaner-burning fire.
If you build fires like this, then you’ll have less creosote built up in your chimney.
Watch this video on how to build a fire:
4 – Make Sure your fire gets enough Oxygen
Open your damper before you light your fire. This will ensure that it will get enough oxygen.
Also, make sure you build your fire properly for the sake of oxygen.
Finally, if you have glass doors, it may be a good idea to leave them cracked open slightly so that air can circulate.
5 – Reduce condensation by warming up your cold flue
If your chimney isn’t insulated well, your flue can get pretty cold.
Lighting a fire when your flue is cold will create more condensation and larger creosote deposits.
You can easily warm up your chimney by rolling newspaper to make a torch, lighting it and holding it up in the chimney.
When the smoke from the torch is rising straight up, you’ll know that the flue is warm enough and you can build a fire!