Chimney Cleaning – What Are The Dangers Of Creosote Buildup Inside Your Chimney
If you live in an area where the winters are very cold then a chimney in your home is a pure blessing. Chimney adds a feeling of warmth and coziness to your home as well as provides an aesthetic appeal. A well-built and structured chimney provides an adequate amount of heat in your homes and lets out the smoke from the flue opening. But have you actually considered the hazards and dangers your chimney can pose if you do not call in the chimney cleaning services at the right time.
Is Chimney Really Dangerous?
Your chimney itself is not dangerous but the by-products of wood burning are very dangerous. The by-products include soot, creosote, residue, carbon monoxide and many other gases which pose harmful health hazards. Of these the most dangerous of all is the creosote.
What Creosote Really Is?
When you burn wood, you want it to burn completely. Most of the time, burning wood leads to incomplete combustion due to lack of air. The smoke which is released goes up the chimney liner and outside the chimney opening. As the smoke travels up, it tends to cool down due to a drop in the temperature and clings on the inner chimney walls and lining. The creosote is of 3 grades:
- Grade 1 creosote is the initial kind and is mostly flaky and in shards. It can be easily cleaned and swept away by a chimney sweep or brush.
- Grade 2 creosote forms when the grade 1 creosote was left as it is. The buildup increases and causes further buildup which then leads to a sticky and black tar like substance. To clean it you will need the help of a chimney cleaning service and they will take the help of specialized brushes and tools to thoroughly remove the creosote layer. This then forms an obstacle in the path of the smoke to be released and hence ore and more deposits inside the chimney rather than going out
- Grade 3 chimney creosote is the toughest to remove and the most dangerous of all. Due to high heat the tar type of creosote gets boiled causing the moisture in it to evaporate leaving behind a hardened substance known as glazed creosote.
The creosote builds up faster than you can even think. Even a small amount of incomplete combustion can lead to creosote buildup and once the process is started, it further begins to build up faster.
The Dangers of Creosote
Creosote is not only an obstacle inside the chimney but also poses many health hazards.
- Do not try to clean creosote yourself because it is a chemical and experts have special tools and equipment to clean and scrape it. If it comes with your skin’s contact, you may get skin allergies, rashes or irritated skin.
- If you breathe creosote it may cause respiratory issues, lung issues, breathing problems and even asthma. Those who already have sensitive nasal passages should stay away from creosote.
- Creosote is a by-product of burning wood and may cause irritation in the eyes if the particles get into your eyes. In more serious cases, it may even lead to chemical burning in the eyes.
- Research has stated that creosote is highly carcinogenic. If creosote has started to deposit in your chimneys, (which is very obvious as every chimney will have the slightest amount of buildup), then you have started to inhale creosote when you light up your fireplace. Long period of inhaling creosote can lead to cancer.
- Creosote also poses a potential fire hazard and your house may be burnt down. Studies show that every 1 in 25 houses has been burnt down due to chimney fire and the culprit is no other than creosote. When creosote buildup is increased, it melts due to high temperatures causing it to drip in the fireplace. Your chimney structure may be fire safe but your house is not so better be safe than sorry.
If you have been neglecting your chimney cleanup then it’s high time you should call in the chimney sweep services Columbia MD for inspection and repairs. Because if you keep delaying chimney cleaning and maintenance, it can prove be harmful for you, your family and your property. Summer is the right time to do chimney maintenance, but if it’s urgent, you can do it in winter also.