Understanding the Stages of Creosote Buildup

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If you have a fireplace, you will no doubt be familiar with the term creosote. A little creosote education is necessary for all fireplace owners. It can pose a fire hazard if it is ignored for too long. Surprisingly, some people still fail to see the importance of regular inspections and cleaning. Since creosote is the inevitable result of using the fireplace, sweeping the chimney is essential.

The development of creosote has three stages. In each stage the deposits have a different look. The more regularly you clean your chimney, the easier it is to avoid getting to the third stage. This is desirable for any chimney owner, as the third stage is not only dangerous, it can be expensive to deal with.

In the early stage, creosote is easy to clean away. In fact, some homeowners practice DIY chimney cleaning at this point, even if they sometimes fail to do a thorough job. It is flaky enough to be quickly cleaned out with a brush. The second stage of creosote is usually too tough for the average homeowner deal with as the substance has hardened at this point. A simple brushing will not get rid of it, but a professional chimney sweep will have the right tools to remove it.

Significant neglect of the chimney can cause the creosote to get to third stage. At this point it has become thick and tar like, and it is highly flammable. It will continue to worsen each time the fireplace is used. Sometimes it can be so bad that the liner has to be replaced. If a chimney fire is contained, the creosote will be easier to clean out as it will become softer. However, a chimney fire can spread quickly, it is best to keep the creosote from reaching this stage. Since the buildup is so heavy, the process will take more time, and it will cost you more money.

A healthy chimney is a safe one, so pay attention to its maintenance. Before every winter season, call us for an inspection. We will clean the chimney if necessary, so that you can use your fireplace without worry. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) stresses the importance of annual inspections to make sure that chimneys are safe to use. This nonprofit organization has done enough studies to conclude that creosote poses a hazard in the home.

Let the experts at Lou Curley Chimney Services keep your home from being added to the fire statistics by calling us at 610-626-2439 for an inspection today. You should schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning around the same time each year so it becomes habit. Make it a date that you can remember as easily as you remember your anniversary, or your own birthday. Schedule us in your smartphone so you don’t forget.

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