Creosote isn’t a word that is in most people’s vocabulary. You probably don’t even think about it unless you’re a homeowner with a fireplace. If you are a homeowner with a fireplace, creosote is something you should know about it. Creosote can cause serious problems to your home and put your family at risk for potential dangers.
What is Creosote?
When you burn a fire in your fireplace, smoke is released. Did you know moisture is also released along with the smoke, as well as a few different chemicals. Some of the chemicals aren’t dangerous, but some of them such as carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride, and acetic acid can cause serious health issues.
These chemicals are extremely harmful, which is why it’s good that the smoke rises out of your house through the chimney. However, because there is water vapor in the smoke, when its warmth hits the cooler interior of the top of your chimney, it condenses and forms a layer of either brown, sticky material or black, hard, and shiny material called creosote. This material is highly flammable, and it can cause problems for you and your home if not cleaned out.
Dangers Caused by Creosote
The most important thing to know about creosote is that it is highly flammable. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) states that even as little as an eighth of an inch of creosote is enough to cause a devastating chimney fire. All it takes is a stray spark or ember floating up your chimney and catching the creosote to cause a devastating chimney fire to occur.
However, many people don’t know that most chimney fires occur without the homeowner even being aware of it. To continue burning, a fire needs oxygen, and most often a chimney doesn’t have enough oxygen to allow the fire to burn out of control. This may seem like a good thing, but actually, the fire could cause damage to the inside of your chimney to make your fireplace less efficient. It can also cause dangerous gases to get directed back into your home.
Odor Caused by Creosote
Another problem with creosote buildup is that it causes foul odors. This is especially a problem during the warm and humid days of summer when the creosote is mixed with the humid air inside the chimney. It bring a nasty and musty odor down the chimney and into your home. This is a very unpleasant experience for homeowners.
What to Do About Creosote Buildup
So, how do you know if your chimney has creosote buildup or not? Call the experts at Firesafe Chimney Service for a chimney inspection right now. We can do a level one, two, or three inspections, depending on how long it’s been since your last inspection and the condition of your chimney. We have the proper tools and know the procedure to rid your chimney of creosote, and our technicians are CSIA certified. Give us a call at 413-436-7946 soon to have your chimney inspected and swept before the fall weather arrives.