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Can I Prevent Chimney Creosote Build Up?

creosote buildup in pipe, bristol ctThere isn’t any way to prevent creosote build up on the inside of your chimney.  Several feeble attempts were made to discover a process to inhibit build-up; sadly, none were successful.  We have found cleaning and inspection were the only way to make a chimney clean and safe.

DIY “Remedies” Homeowners Have Tried

To prevent anyone from repeating those mistakes, here are some ‘remedies’ some have tried.

  • Soot spray
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning Logs
  • Burning aluminum cans
  • Burning potato peelings

The only technique having any positive results is, believe it or not, burning potato peelings.  Starting with uncooked potato peelings, you need to put the peelings directly on burning logs.  The chemical reaction provided by the peelings softens the creosote; regrettably, it does nothing to rid a chimney of it.  When all is said and done, nothing can replace an annual chimney cleaning and inspection.

Slow Down Creosote Build-Up

There are other ways to cut down on creosote. A frequently used chimney will have creosote regardless of what the homeowner does.  Burning season wood is an excellent start to a cleaner chimney.  Using ‘seasoned wood’ causes the flames to burn hotter and with less moisture.  Seasoning firewood doesn’t mean adding paprika and garlic; it means letting the wood dry, sometimes for a year or more before burning it.  Identifying the difference between the two can be tricky.

Using seasoned wood will slow the progression of creosote. Seasoned wood has the bark separating from the wood itself.  The seasoned wood will be darker in color. Some seasoned wood will take on a gray cast and will weigh less than greenwood.  When stacking the wood, seasoned wood will sound hollow when stacking.

Greenwood or unseasoned wood will have a slightly green cast to it.  Greenwood will be heavier than seasoned wood because of its moisture content.  Greenwood will also produce more smoke and more popping and crackling.  Since green wood will give off smoke, it is the smoke that carries the creosote up and on the walls of your chimney.

If you and your family are interested in finding the amount of moisture in your firewood, there are moisture meters.  An ideal moisture level in wood is around 15%.

video inspection of chimney flue, rocky hill ctChimney Creosote Can’t Be Fully Prevented

Back to our original question, Can I prevent creosote build-up?  The answer is No.  You can slow the build-up but, there is no magic formula.  The only fail-safe process is to have your chimney inspected annually, along with a chimney cleaning.  Not only will you have a clean chimney, but you will also have peace of mind that your chimney is safe to enjoy.


Call Northeastern Chimney, LLC

Northeastern Chimney, LLC has been servicing chimneys in the Central Connecticut area for 35 years.  Our staff is committed to keeping the West Hartford area safe by preventing chimney fires.  Our chimney technicians are customer-focused and results-driven to make sure your chimney is as safe as possible.  We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  An organization committed to training with the latest equipment and services related to every chimney.

Our technicians arrive on time in clean crisp uniforms.  They strive to give all information to the homeowner so decisions can be made about the chimney.  The best part is they always clean up and try to leave the premises cleaner than when they came.

We look forward to serving you.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC

37 Cody Street

 West Hartford, Connecticut 06110

 Phone: 860-233-5770

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