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Are Soot Deposits Staining Your Home Interior?

Cleaning Sooty WallsIs your home plagued by soot stains? It’s not usually obvious that soot is building up inside a home until it has been going on for a long while and cleanup becomes more of a challenge. Soot can come from several different sources, such as a fireplace or furnace; and many people are surprised to learn that burning candles can create costly soot problems.

What Creates a Soot Buildup?

Burning certain types of candles and blowing them out rather than snuffing them out is a major cause of soot stains. The primary causes of soot buildup are related to venting systems, however. Well-designed venting systems effectively remove soot and fumes from your home; but if the systems are not maintained and cleaned regularly, the result can be a sooty mess. The following can cause soot problems:

  • Carbon is a natural byproduct of burning any fuel, which is why the most common sources of soot in the home are chimneys, chimney liners, and pipes that connect appliances to the chimney flue.
  • Lack of cleaning and maintenance of venting systems prevents the fumes, smoke, and particulates from being carried out of the home.
  • If you find that soot is embedded into your air intake or filter or if there are stains around registers, it means your ductwork is spreading soot throughout your home.
  • If a venting system is obstructed, soot problems can be the result. Birds’ nests, debris, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, and other animals are common causes of chimney obstruction.
  • If heating appliances are not installed correctly, one of the resulting problems can be soot. The fittings and size of the flue lining must be within the size range indicated in manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the venting system contains offsets, is undersized, or is oversized, soot can easily become a problem.
  • When a furnace is replaced with an updated system, the venting may need to be changed, too. If the venting is not the right fit with the furnace, soot buildup can occur.
  • Burning petroleum candles and/or imported candles with lead wicks can cause a serious soot buildup; scents make the problem even worse.
  • Sometimes a venting system or house design has flaws which result in a soot problem; it may require the help of a professional chimney sweep to identify this issue.

Soot Stain Cleaning

Removing soot from walls and furnishings is sometimes achieved with commercial and/or professional cleaning products designed for that purpose. A professional cleaning service is sometimes required. In extreme cases, the walls may need to be repainted and the carpet and furniture may need to be replaced.

How to Reduce Soot Deposits

Soot Deposits on WallsAn annual cleaning and inspection of your venting system is the best way to prevent soot from entering your home. You may also need a professional chimney sweep to evaluate the design of your chimney.

If you enjoy burning candles, there are ways to reduce the amount of soot caused by the candles, as follows:

  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to ¼ inch, which most candle manufacturers recommend.
  • Always extinguish a candle with a snuffer or by placing the lid on a jar candle. When you blow out a candle, smoke and soot are produced.
  • Do not burn paraffin wax candles.
  • Burn soy and beeswax candles; they burn clearer, are renewable resources, and they have fewer chemical additives. Non-cored candle wicks made with natural plant fibers are also safe and clean-burning choices.

Our professional chimney sweeps can help you identify the source of soot problems in your home. Contact us today for any type of help you may need with your venting system or to schedule your annual cleaning and inspection.

Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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