One of the primary reasons to have your chimney serviced near Langhorne, PA is creosote. It can generate when wood isn’t burned completely. A smoky fire without sufficient oxygen emits a lot of unburned tar vapors that may condense inside the flue, causing a chimney fire. You can lessen creosote buildup in your fireplace by providing adequate combustion air, encouraging a clean-burning fire.
How Do I Know if I Have Creosote?
To inspect for creosote on your own, first, check that there’s no downdraft coming from the chimney. If you feel a draft, open a door or window on the same floor as the fireplace until the downdraft stops, or until it reverses and air flows up instead.
Tape a tissue to the fireplace opening and see which way it blows.
For this next part, you’ll want to be wearing goggles and a dust mask. Use a fireplace poker to scratch the black surface above the damper (smoke chamber). If you scratch the groove and the creosote is paper thin, it’s in good shape. On the other hand, if it’s just 1/8 inch thick, you’ll want to schedule a cleaning.
If you have 1/4 inch of creosote, your fireplace is too dangerous to use and is at risk of causing a fire. Do not use it again until it is cleaned by professionals.
To check for creosote, shine a flashlight at the top of the firebox, in the smoke chamber and around the damper. Also check the flue, especially on exterior chimneys. Creosote can build up more quickly on exterior chimneys than on interiors because of the lower temperatures outside.
How Do I Get Rid of It?
Creosote is easy to remove if it’s feather-light dull gray, brown or black soot. The next form is a black granular accumulation, which can also be removed using a stiff chimney brush. The third kind of creosote is a road tar-like coating that can be very difficult to remove even with a good chimney brush, scraper or power rotary whip. The final and most dangerous kind is a shiny, glaze-like coating on the flue that is almost impossible to get rid of.
If you spot this black or shiny creosote and need a chimney cleaning in Feasterville, PA or other nearby areas, call us as soon as possible.