Creosote is that nasty residue that builds up in your chimney after repeated fires. This sooty, tar-like buildup is a result of wood fires. Over time, it can pose a fire danger since it can ignite inside the chimney and cause a chimney fire. Thick buildups can also prevent smoke from exiting the chimney properly. The following tips can help you manage and prevent creosote buildup in your fireplace.
Tip #1: Burn hot
The key to a creosote-free chimney is to burn hot. Cooler fires are more likely to produce soot, since not everything will fully combust. A roaring fire is much better than a small smokey fire. A slow, smoldering fire that is more embers that flame is the worst offender. If the fire is going out, smother it instead of allowing it to smolder.
Tip #2: Use seasoned wood
Unseasoned or "green" wood hasn't been properly dried. The result is wetter wood that burns at a low temperature, which means heavy creosote buildup. Wood should be cut and stacked for at least a year before burning to ensure it is seasoned well enough so that it dries and burns quickly.
Tip #3: Avoid "fake" logs
These logs are touted as an easy option for a quick fire. Most are made from sawdust and paper that is held in the semblance of a log shape with resins. They tend to burn cool and produce a lot of creosote, so they aren't meant for regular use. Stick to real logs for a safer fire.
Tip #4: Give your fires air
You can increase the heat of your fires by stacking the logs in the fireplace so that air circulates freely. To achieve this, quarter the logs so they aren't too large or cumbersome. Then, stack no more than two or three quarters in the fireplace at a time so that air can circulate freely around each log. The result of increased air circulation is a hotter flame.
Tip #5: Clean the chimney annually
Once creosote begins to build up, each additional fire will add to the residue. This is because it is easier for creosote to cling to a dirty chimney. Schedule an annual cleaning right before fire season begins. The chimney sweep will remove any buildup, inspect for masonry and chimney liner damages, and check that the cap on the chimney is in good condition.
For more questions, contact a company like Flue Doctor Chimney Service.