Chimney FAQ’s


What is creosote?

Wood never burns completely, leaving unburned tar-like liquids that float up through smoke. The brown or black matter builds up along the sides of stove pipes or chimneys and is extremely flammable.

Why clean my chimney?

Your chimney should be regularly cleaned to remove the creosote from the flue lining. The creosote is highly flammable and can build up over time to combust in your chimney. When you notice the creosote, it’s time to clean your chimney. The Chimney Safety Institute of America advises that even ¼” of buildup can cause a chimney fire capable of damaging your chimney or spreading to your home. Creosote is brown or black and can be tar-like, drippy and sticky, shiny and hardened, or crusty and flaky. Cleaning also reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.


In 2007, there were 48,800 heating related home fires, resulting in 301 deaths, 1,383 injuries, and $606.5 million in property damage (NFPA).

How often do I need to clean my chi mney?

Frequent and regular maintenance and cleaning of your chimney is recommended. The National Fire Protection Association advises that chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year or more if you use your fireplace on a regular basis for wood-burning and gas fireplaces. If you don’t use your fireplace often, your chimney should still be cleaned and inspected regularly to check for animals that may build nests in the flue.

Why Should I be concerned about maintaining/ repairing my chimney?

An unrepaired firebox or chimney may:

  • Release dangerous, unhealthy, or toxic gases into your home.
  • Allow sparks and flames to escape onto potentially combustible materials. This is a real fire hazard!
  • Allow loose masonry materials to fall and cause damage to you or your property
  • Cause damage to become worse over time, increasing costs dramatically. Call today and save money right away!

Why is creosote a problem?

Creosote causes at least three major problems to a wood burner. It is corrosive to many surfaces, including steel and mortar. The build-up acts as an insulator and reduces the efficiency of your wood stove or fireplace. Most importantly, creosote is highly flammable and presents a fire hazard.

What factors affect creosote build-up?

Many factors affect the rate and amount of creosote build-up:

  • Type of wood burned
  • Type of fire burned
  • Amount of moisture in the wood
  • Type of stove or fireplace
  • Efficiency of stove
  • Location of flue
  • Amount of use

Resource: Chimney Inspection Charlotte NC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *