What Is Creosote And Is It Dangerous?

When wood burns, it releases gases and chemicals in addition to heat. Creosote is a black, tar-like substance released naturally when wood burns. It forms inside the chimney when smoke doesn’t fully vent, leading to creosote build up. Creosote is highly flammable, so build up can lead to chimney fire– which can spread into a dangerous house fire. A professional chimney sweep can help resolve the issue.

What are the benefits of a Chimney Sweep?

  • Ensures that the fireplace vents properly outdoors
  • Prevents creosote build up and chimney fires
  • Reduces or eliminates chimney odors
  • Removes blockages that could cause dangerous carbon monoxide gases to enter your home
  • Prevents deterioration of the chimney interior caused by acids in smoke and chemical deposits from burning wood and gas fumes

Isn't cleaning my Dryer Lint Filter enough?

That’s a common misconception about dryers! Cleaning the lint filter inside your dryer will prevent buildup inside your dryer, but not deep inside the dryer vents inside the walls of your house. A combination of heat, moisture, and lint builds up inside the walls of the dryer ducting, restricting air flow and eventually causing blockage. Additionally, structural failure and critter invasion can contribute to the need for regular dryer vent cleaning services.

How often should my chimney be cleaned?

Chimneys should be cleaned when soot and creosote build up approaches or exceeds 1/4 inch. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be inspected at least once a year and cleaned as necessary. The cleaning frequency will depend on the amount of use and the type of fuel used.

When should I have my air ducts cleaned?

In homes where individuals have allergies or asthma, we recommend having your air ducts cleaned each time your chimney is cleaned. Have them inspected every year! You should hire an air duct cleaning professional if you find the following:

  • Water damage
  • Slime growth
  • Debris that restricts airflow
  • Dust is seen emitting from air supply registers
  • Offensive odors coming from the ductwork or HVAC system.

I use a gas furnace, do I still need to have my chimney cleaned?

Yes! While gas does burn “clean,” the cooler gases that condense quicker. This causes formation of hydrochloric acid, leading to a corrosive coating build up in your flue. There is also the common problem of small animals and birds nesting in smaller venting systems. Debris that blocks your flue– even partially – also leads to harmful gas build up.

The biggest problems we see come when a customer buys a new appliance and hooks it into an older venting system. A professional needs to examine the total venting system to be sure everything is up to safety standards.

Top Hat Chimney Sweeps Team

More questions?

Whether your concerns are for your fireplace/chimney cleaning, your dryer venting system, or your air ducts, we’re here to answer your questions.

Send a message to our team so that we can provide you Peace of Mind One Sweep at a Time!


Get in Touch with Our Team

We pride ourselves on offering best in class service performing inspections, cleaning, and maintenance for your home’s vent systems. We service chimneys, air vents, and dryer vents – so contact our team today to get started!


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