Creosote Buildup in Chimneys

by Veronika B

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What is creosote?

Creosote is a type of tar that is produced when wood is burned at high temperatures in a lack of oxygen. It is a black or brown substance that can be found on the inside of chimneys, flues, and inside of the fire box. It is a thick substance that can be highly flammable, and if not removed, can cause chimney fires.

When creosote builds up in a chimney, it can restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of the chimney. This can lead to poor ventilation and a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. Additionally, creosote can also cause odors, stains, and can even weaken the structure of the chimney.

How to prevent creosote?

To prevent creosote buildup, it is important to have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. This will remove any buildup of creosote and prevent a chimney fire from occurring. Additionally, burning dry, seasoned wood and avoiding over-firing the stove or fireplace will also help reduce the amount of creosote that is produced.

Having the right flue size is an important aspect in reducing creosote build-up.

The tools you need to clean creosote from a chimney:

  • Chimney brush: A chimney brush is a specialized brush with stiff bristles that is used to scrub the sides of the chimney to remove creosote build-up.

  • Extension rods: Extension rods are used to extend the reach of the chimney brush so that you can clean the entire length of the chimney.

  • Dropcloth: A dropcloth is used to catch any debris or soot that falls from the chimney during cleaning.

  • Flashlight or head lamp: A flashlight is useful for inspecting the chimney and looking for any damage or blockages.


  • Ladder: A sturdy ladder is needed to reach the top of the chimney.


  • Mask will be helpful to filter out the dust and debris.


Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood that can build up in chimneys, flues, and other areas where wood is burned. It is flammable and can cause chimney fires, poor ventilation, and odors. Regular inspection and cleaning by can prevent creosote buildup and keep your home safe.

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