Creosote is a tar-like byproduct of fire. This highly flammable material consists of soot, smoke particles, and other materials that coalesce after combustion. Creosote can coat the inside of your chimney, where it can pose a major fire hazard. The following are a few methods that can help prevent creosote buildup.
Avoid Artificial Logs
Artificial fireplace logs are ubiquitous. Most consist of compressed sawdust held together with natural waxes. They are designed to light easily so that they can provide a bit of heat and flame for ambiance purposes. Unfortunately, these logs do not burn very cleanly, which leads to a lot of gas and soot production that can harden on the inside of your fireplace and chimney as creosote.
Choose Seasoned Wood
A hot fire without a lot of moisture results in less creosote production, so it's important to avoid slower and cooler burning green wood. Opt for only well-seasoned wood that hasn't been exposed to moisture recently. Generally, wood must be allowed to dry, or season, for half a year or more before the majority of the moisture has evaporated out. Further, if you store your wood outside make sure it is in a covered woodpile with air circulation all around it so that the wood doesn't become wet again before it is burned.
Create a Healthy Fire
The hotter a fire burns, the less likely it is to produce creosote. Building the fire properly to allow for plenty of airflow can help it burn hotter. Leave spaces between the logs so air can flow through the fire and feed the flames, otherwise, you will end up with slow-burning coals that produce more creosote. Further, make sure your fireplace is vented, especially if you have glass fixed glass doors. Some air must still flow into the fireplace to ensure hot flames.
Check Your Flue
The wrong flue can lead to cooler burning and more combustion. The flue must be sized to fit your chimney correctly. If it is too large, smoke gets trapped in the firebox and it isn't able to quickly escape up the chimney. The longer the smoke hangs around, the more likely the formation of creosote. A chimney service can check the flue and make sure it is both the right size and operating properly.
Even with care, some creosote buildup will still occur. Fortunately, a fireplace cleaning service can remove the buildup. Call a service today to schedule your annual cleaning.
For more information about fireplace maintenance in your area, contact a fireplace service.