Understanding Creosote Buildup And How To Avoid It

If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace in your home, then you should know that it is important to have your fireplace cleaned regularly. This is due to the risk of chimney fires. The risk is associated with the amount of creosote that builds on the inside of the chimney. Keep reading to understand what creosote is and how you can stop it from forming as aggressively on the inside of the chimney.

What Is Creosote?

Creosote is a byproduct that forms when you burn fossil fuels, and it is specifically a hydrocarbon material that forms on surfaces that come into contact with the smoke from a burned type of fuel. Generally, the majority of the substance will develop when wood or a wood product is burned, and the creosote is the unburned material left over from the combustion process. 

Creosote will form layers and will start off as a flaky deposit that can break away easily from the chimney or fireplace. Over time, the byproduct material will turn into a tar-like substance and eventually it will harden. The thick and hard material is the most damaging to the chimney surface as it is extremely difficult to remove. It is also extremely flammable and may start to liquefy and drip as it warms up. 

While creosote is a natural byproduct, it most often forms when your fire is not as hot as it should be. In this case, combustion is far from complete and byproducts are more numerous.

How Do You Stop Creosote From Developing?

Some creosote will form, but you want to avoid the thick and hard accumulations that are more likely to lead to a fire. And, there are some things that can reduce the amount of creosote that forms. The easiest way to minimize byproducts is to ensure that you are using wood that is cured properly. This means that the wood does not contain a good deal of water, since water creates condensation that can contribute to the development of creosote. 

Also, you want to make sure that your fires are hot. It may not always be easy to determine the temperature of the fire, but you can purchase a stove thermostat if you have stove pipe in the home. Keeping the thermostat between 300 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal when using the product.

You can use creosote reducing logs and other products too, but you should also make sure that you speak with a chimney cleaning expert at least once a year who can inspect the chimney for buildup issues. Contact a company like Chimneys Unlimited to learn more.