We Offer Thorough, Mess-Free Creosote Removal Services

Many wood-burning fireplace, stove, and insert owners know that creosote is something they want to avoid. But why exactly is it so harmful? And why does it need to be professionally removed on a regular basis?

Here at English Sweep, our knowledgeable crew takes pride in not only resolving a large number of chimney issues, but also in ensuring our customers are equipped with the understanding and confidence to protect their homes and loved ones. We’re always happy to share both what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. So, let’s talk about creosote.

Questions for our team? We’re happy to help. Give us a call or book online with us today.

What Is Creosote?

First off – what is creosote? What does it look like? How does creosote even form in the first place?

Well, creosote is a flammable substance that builds up inside the chimney as you burn fires in the fireplace. It resembles a dark, tar-like substance that is the result of wood-burning byproducts – smoke, water vapor, tar fog, etc. – cooling and settling on the interior walls of the chimney as they pass through.

Creosote tends to present itself in a few different ways. We categorize creosote buildup into three stages:

Flue almost completely blocked with black creosote.
  • First-Degree Creosote (Stage 1): At this stage, creosote resembles a light, powdery, or flaky deposit that is often mistaken for soot or ash. It is the least dense and least flammable (and easiest to remove), but should not be underestimated – it’s still flammable!
  • Second-Degree Creosote (Stage 2): As time goes on, creosote becomes a more condensed substance that appears as a thicker, tar-like, or waxy deposit. It is not only more challenging to remove, but it also poses a higher risk of a fire compared to first-degree creosote.
  • Third-Degree Creosote (Stage 3): This is the most concerning and hazardous form of creosote. Third-degree creosote forms as a hard, shiny, and extremely flammable glaze that can be difficult to remove. That’s why we recommend yearly chimney sweeps in order to remove creosote buildup before this happens.

Why Is Removing Creosote Important?

Creosote buildup is bad for the health of your system, and it can clog things up if not regularly removed. This will affect air flow and efficiency, slowing the escape of smoke and harmful fumes from your home. This means that, instead of exiting through the chimney, those smoke and fumes backdraft into your home – not good.

Additionally, creosote buildup can cause awful chimney odors, especially during the humid summer months. There’s nothing you can do to cover up or mask the smell other than addressing the root issue by scheduling a professional chimney cleaning to remove the creosote deposits.

All that said, the bigger worry with creosote in your flue is the increased risk of experiencing a chimney fire due to creosote’s flammable nature.

What Is a Chimney Fire?

A chimney fire is when flames escape your firebox and spread through your chimney, causing significant damage and deterioration along the way. While your firebox was built to withstand these high temps, your chimney was not – and it will suffer as a result, putting your household at risk in the process.

Chimney fires can be loud, attention-drawing events, but for the most part they’re quiet and slow-moving. Most homeowners won’t even realize one has occurred unless they spot more obvious signals like honeycombed creosote, cracked flue tiles, discoloration, warped metal components, or other signs of extreme heat exposure.

Unfortunately, because these things are often hard for homeowners to spot (because they are deep within the walls of the chimney), you might not even know a chimney fire occurred. What’s even scarier, is that you could be using your fireplace or stove when it’s really unsafe to do so.

Routine sweepings and creosote removal can keep chimney fires from occurring, so, be sure to make professional sweepings part of your normal fireplace routine. It’s the best move for your schedule, budget, health, and comfort. Ready to get something on the books now? Reach out – we’re happy to help.

Do Creosote Sweeping Logs (Chimney Sweeping Logs) Work?

Since creosote is an unavoidable part of the process of using a wood-burning fireplace or stove, many people seek alternative methods to proactively manage it – often hoping to cut costs instead of hiring a certified chimney sweep.

One of those methods is creosote sweeping logs, also known as chimney sweeping logs or chimney cleaning logs. You can find them at just about any hardware store, and they are actually an accepted product by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

However, the packaging itself states that this product shouldn’t replace professional cleanings. This is because these logs are designed to help reduce creosote buildup over time, but they do not actually remove it. They work to break down your creosote and make it easier to remove, but they don’t do the job of a full chimney sweep.

In addition, you can’t count on a creosote sweeping log to check your chimney for any damages or other issues.

So, sure, use these products now and then, if you so choose – they won’t cause any harm. But don’t bypass your yearly sweep either. Always count on a certified chimney technician to get this job done right.

Will a Hot Fire Burn Off Creosote?

Did you grow up with parents who believed that the most effective way to rid the chimney of unwanted substances was by intentionally igniting a scorching fire? We don’t know where this old wives’ tale came from, but we definitely don’t endorse it.

While it might sound like a straightforward solution, attempting to burn off chimney buildup through extreme heat can actually lead to dangerous consequences – including chimney fires.

The only proven way to help eliminate your risk of experiencing a chimney fire and to effectively clean your chimney is by scheduling an appointment with a trusted chimney sweep. This is the only approach that ensures the safety and efficiency of your chimney, and provides you with the complete peace of mind knowing your heating system is in the hands of experienced professionals.

With English Sweep, Inc., You’re Guaranteed Top-Notch Service

At English Sweep, Inc., we’re known for having high standards and providing the best care. How do we maintain such high standards and deliver such exceptional service? Our team is made up of Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified sweeps, National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified sweeps, and the only CSIA Master Chimney Sweep in Missouri. We’re also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NSCG) and the Midwest Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (MWHPBA).

We’re committed to education and excellence because it’s what’s best for our customer base – it’s as simple as that. We strive to be the best so we can deliver the best service around!


Think Creosote May Be a Problem? Give Our Sweeps A Call

Technician vacuuming inside of a fireplace

You deserve peace of mind when operating your fireplace system, and one of the most effective ways to gain this is by booking chimney sweepings on a regular basis.

So, if your chimney is dirty and you think you may have creosote buildup in your chimney, call us at 636-225-3340 to get an appointment on the books. We’ll safely and quickly remove creosote – even stubborn glazed creosote – so you can get back to using your fireplace ASAP.

Call or reach out online to book your appointment today.