What is creosote? What does it look like? Why should you care? If you have a chimney in your home, these are a few of the questions you need to answer. The most important question to answer is: what is creosote? It is a tar-like substance that builds up on your chimney and can cause a risk of fire. In order to keep your home safe, you need to make sure you properly deal with creosote. To deal with this tar-like danger, you will need to properly clean your chimney.
How Does Creosote Form?
The smoke generated by burning wood contains creosote and as that smoke travels up your chimney, creosote will build up on the walls of the flue (the interior of your chimney). You might think that creosote poses no risk to your home because it is a residue of wood that has already burned, but creosote is highly flammable. As more and more tar builds up on your chimney, the risk of fire increases. To avoid the risk of fire, you need to make sure you clean out your chimney every year or so depending on how often you use your fireplace. If you only use your fireplace a few times a year, you may be able to go longer between cleanings. If, however, you use your fireplace as your primary cleaning source, you may want to clean it more frequently, at least once a year.
DIY Chimney Repair?
You can buy flexible, long-handle brushes for cleaning chimneys, but that does not mean that you should attempt cleaning your own chimney. For one thing, cleaning a chimney can be messy. Putting down tarps should help to collect dust and debris that comes out of your chimney, but a professional will have experience and skills to help mitigate the risk of damage. Furthermore, a chimney sweep should do a full inspection of your chimney to make sure it is in good repair. If sweeps find damage, they can advise you about what repairs you should make and may be able to help with the repairs.
While you could save some money by sweeping out your chimney on your own, how will you know what other repairs your chimney may need or how to make any needed repairs? In order to keep your home and your family safe, it is better to trust keeping your chimney clean to the professionals.
Thinking about getting your chimney professionally cleaned or repaired? Contact Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service.