Wood is never burned completely. Smoke contains unburned gases, vapors and tar-like liquids. These condense along the sides of the stove pipes or chimney and become a combustible, crusty build-up called creosote.
Why is creosote a problem?
Creosote presents major problems to the wood burner. Creosote is corrosive to many surfaces. Creosote build-up acts as an insulating material which reduces the efficiency of your wood stove or fireplace. Finally, and most critical, creosote is combustible and presents a potential fire hazard.
What factors affect creosote build-up?
Type of wood burned
Amount of moisture in the wood
Type of fire burned
Efficiency of stove
Location of flue
Type of stove or fireplace
Amount of use
How often should a fireplace be cleaned?
Because of various factors involved, there isn't a general answer that is appropriate to all cases. Every fireplace/stove is different. Having it cleaned after you burn the first cord of wood is a great start to determine your cleaning frequency. If you notice back-drafting, smoking, or losing heat, you should certainly check for creosote build-up immediately. Periodic checking is essential for safe efficient wood burning.
How do I check for creosote build-up in my wood stove or fireplace?
Carefully open the damper and, using a flashlight, look up the flue. If the build-up is 1/8" or more, cleaning is needed. A trained chimney sweep can determine this more accurately and inspect all other safety issues.
How can Advanced Chimney Sweeps help?
We know and understand wood burning appliances and how to maintain them for safety and maximum efficiency. We literally scrub your fireplace/chimney from firebox to cap using tools specifically designed for this purpose. We are professionally trained, fully licensed and insured. (This is important to you) We guarantee a totally mess-proof job. We are a local business. Our roots are here in North Atlanta and we take pride in this. Your safety is our main concern. One last suggestion that applies to all serious companies, not just Advanced Chimney Sweeps: ask our customers about us!