If you have a fireplace and aren’t quite sure what creosote is, let us explain. Creosote is a thick hard buildup of debris that forms in your chimney and if you do not have it cleaned out regularly, it can catch on fire. It can also prevent air from flowing through your chimney, and it is toxic and harmful to your health.

There are three degrees of creosote and as you can imagine, each one is worse than the previous one. First degree creosote is soft and sooty, and basically like the ashes of a fire. Second degree creosote looks like honeycomb and is soft and crumbly. When your creosote gets to this consistency, you may have had a chimney fire at some point. Once your creosote reaches a black, glassy, and tarlike substance it is considered third degree. At that point, you would need special equipment to remove the creosote from your chimney.

If you have your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year, the creosote inside your chimney should never get past the first degree. That is a very good thing, because it means that you will never need to worry about the toxic fumes from the creosote or the lack or air flow. It also means that you will have less of a chance of having a chimney fire.

During your chimney cleaning, a professional will come in and remove all the creosote inside your chimney. They will then inspect the lining of your chimney and the outside of your chimney. They will be looking for any damage that could be hazardous when you have a fire burning.

After you have your chimney cleaned, you may be tempted to wait a year or two before you have it done again, especially if there wasn’t a lot of creosote this time. However, we do not recommend that. You may not have had a lot of creosote buildup because you didn’t have as many fires this past season or the wood that you burned was different than the wood you will be burning this next season. There are a bunch of variables than can cause the amount of creosote inside your chimney to vary.

Instead, we recommend that you err on the side of caution and still have your chimney cleaned once a year. You never know, you may find that you have more creosote this next year than you have had in the past three years combined.

Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill

We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.