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Watch Out for Creosote!

The Different Stages of Creosote Buildup in a Chimney

Until they own a home with a chimney, many people have no idea what creosote is. Creosote is actually a combination of chemicals that are left behind after treated woods and coals are burned in the fireplace. There are three different stages of creosote buildup and each has different consequences. One of the top priorities of a chimney sweep during your annual cleaning and inspection is to eliminate creosote buildup.

There are a few reasons that creosote cannot be allowed to accumulate inside of the chimney. One is that the substance is extremely flammable and will increase the risk of a dangerous chimney fire. In addition, there are health risks associated with creosote. It can irritate the eyes or skin if someone comes into contact with it and it also causes respiratory issues after prolonged exposure.

Creosote buildup is a fire danger, but it can also cause respiratory problems.

Creosote buildup is a fire danger, but it can also cause respiratory problems.

In the first stage, creosote is fairly easy to remove because it is flaky and dusty. At this stage, it can usually just be brushed out of the chimney with a brush. However, in this stage, it is very easy for the creosote to catch a stray spark and start a chimney fire. Just because it can be removed easily does not mean that it is not still a serious problem.

If the creosote problem is not taken care of in the first stage, it will quickly move on to the next stage. At this point, the creosote becomes crunchy and tar like and is much more difficult to remove. Once it reaches the second stage, a simple brushing will not do it. It will be necessary for someone to get into the chimney and scrape the creosote from the walls.

Once the homeowner has let their creosote problem advance, it becomes particularly dangerous. In the third stage, creosote becomes glazed and can be extremely difficult to remove. At this point, it behaves like candle wax and will actually melt and spread throughout the chimney during a fire. Once it reaches this stage, the entire family is at risk as a result of the creosote.

As soon as there is a suspicion that creosote is building up in the chimney, it is a good idea to call a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep will have the training and tools necessary to clean up the creosote properly. If an inexperienced homeowner tries to do it on their own, they may not fix the problem entirely. Worse, they could expose themselves and their families to the creosote, putting them all at serious risk.

Creosote buildup is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly by homeowners. If their family is exposed to the substance, they may become injured or ill. Additionally, the creosote can start a chimney fire that will spread throughout the home.  It is important to remember that these risks exist even in the early stages and to have a chimney sweep clean the creosote as quickly as possible.

Are You Ready for Inspection?

What to Expect When Inspecting Chimneys

A fireplace and a chimney go perfectly together and are best suited during the cold months. It is where you can share warm hugs, kisses and sing Christmas carols together with your loved ones. But along with this wonderful thing comes the risk of having your house damaged or burned to the ground. It is important to have it inspected regularly to avoid accidents that could ruin your holiday cheer.

Your certified chimney sweep will know, while conducting your basic Level 1 inspection, whether or not additional inspection is  needed. This could involve putting a camera inside your chimney.

Your certified chimney sweep will know, while conducting your basic Level 1 inspection, whether or not additional inspection is needed. This could involve putting a camera inside your chimney.

Safety in Your Home

Safety must always come first in every home.  Some families take for granted things that can potentially harm their house, or even worse, their lives. They just go about their businesses and do nothing to prevent untoward accidents from occurring. That should not be the case. Every homeowner should ensure the safety of their household and all the people living in it. Study shows how chimney damages can be deadly. It causes fires that form carbon-monoxide intrusions that can affect your family’s health and stability. Not to mention the damage it can bring to your home. You’ll be loaded with bills to pay.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 24,500 residential fires that happened in 2005 was caused by chimney fires that resulted in a death toll of 20 and over one hundred million worth of property  loss. Because of this devastating news, the Chimney Safety Institute of America requires certified professionals to maintain the balance and infrastructure of the chimney. This being said, it takes experts on that field to work on the matter.  When inspections are done, people inside the home are required to vacate the area until they are finished with the survey.

Levels of Chimney Inspection

There are three levels for Chimney Inspections. It is inspected based on the degree of damage, the repairs needed, the soot or dirt buildup, and other factors that alter the normal function of the chimney.

Level 1 Inspection – Visual

During this inspection, assuming there are no prior incidents or chimney problems, professionals only check the readily accessible portions of the chimney’s interior and exterior areas. The basic check-up of the flue and it’s lining. It also surveys on simple appliance connectors and installers. The chimney experts make sure that it is free of impediments and checks the combustible materials and volumes of the chimney. Only the most basic tools are used for this operation and that there is no need to expose any interiors of the house.

Level II Inspection – Video

This inspection is needed when there are changes in the heating systems. It may be due to the relining of your flue, some added or changed appliances, or if you experienced utter chimney malfunction. If you also experienced natural calamities or fires that triggered the chimney to stop functioning or even when you just transferred to a new house. When any of these happens, chimney sweeps inspects the parts that are affected. During this inspection, a video camera is needed to check on the internal joints of the flue.

Level III Inspection

Expect that if this type of inspection is required, there are incurring problems during the Level I and Level II inspections. The damage might be bigger than expected so there is now a need for more observation and immediate action. Special tools are now needed for this operation to access what the eyes cannot see and it could be suggested to remove some parts of the chimney that are affected or damaged.

The most vital aspects of maintaining the fireplace and the chimney need wise decisions and long term commitment to ensure safety in your house. The Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps can provide excellent service on preserving the wellness of your chimney. Their chimney sweep services are just one of many remarkable services they provide. They have been providing the best service for 30 years now and there is nothing that can stop them from providing excellent service to your home.