Company Blog

Watch Out for Creosote!

Creosote:  noun  (kree-uh-soht)- a dark brown or black flammable tar (especially from) wood smoke deposited onto the walls of a chimney

Creosote is actually a combination of chemicals that are left behind after woods and coals are burned in the fireplace or woodstove.  There are three different stages of creosote buildup and each has different consequences.

  • Stage 1: Soft and dusty
    • Flakey and dusty
    • Usually easily brushed out of the chimney.
    • Easily ignited by stray spark or ember.
  • Stage 2: Crisp and crunchy
    • Crunchy and somewhat tar-like
    • Usually still brushable, but more difficult to completely remove. May require more aggressive brushing tools or some scraping.
  • Stage 3: Slick and shiny
    • Glazed and more like burned tar; non-brushable; very difficult to remove requiring very aggressive, specialty tools or chemicals and considerable more time with limited results.
    • If there is a chimney fire where this creosote is present,
      • it may puff up layer by layer as it burns and potentially sustain a serious chimney
      • it may melt and run down the chimney to the base (or smoke shelf), where it may puddle and ignite.

One of the top priorities of a chimney sweep during an annual cleaning and inspection is to minimize and, if possible, eliminate creosote buildup.

There are reasons that creosote should not be allowed to accumulate inside of the chimney.

  1. The substance is extremely and its presence will increase the risk of a dangerous, destructive chimney fire.
  2. Health risks are associated with creosote.
    • It can irritate the eyes or skin.
    • It can cause respiratory issues after prolonged exposure.

Annual Inspection

Basic Level 1 Inspection (Chimney Check-Up)

  • Look for creosote buildup
  • Look for any other risk of use (safety) issues.
  • Look for issues related to use, general “wear & tear” or home maintenance.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth technicians are well-trained and prepared to inspect and evaluate your chimney for creosote build-up and sweep it where needed.  At the end of the inspection process, you will receive a condition report noting any issues found and recommendations for resolution of any noted issues.

Annual inspection and regular sweeping will minimize the risk of loss of life or property damage.  Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth and our friendly staff are pleased to help you keep fire in its place in your home!  We encourage you to do your part to protect your family and property!  Make sure to have your chimney systems inspected annually and serviced when needed.

Are You Including a Chimney Sweep In Your Spring Cleaning?

Spring is a great time to schedule a chimney sweep and inspection!

Spring is a great time to schedule a chimney sweep and inspection!

Winter is releasing its grip and spring is starting to roll into many parts of the US. Many homeowners are relieved to have the harsh winter weather behind them and are looking forward to tackling some spring-cleaning projects that may have accumulated during the snowfall. When you’re making your spring cleaning to-do list, don’t forget about the wood-burning heating appliances you’ve used all winter long.

Chimney sweeping should be an important part of your spring cleaning checklist, because if you use your fireplace or woodstove to heat your home during the winter, it has likely built up some ash, soot and other particles that should be cleaned out. A professional chimney sweeping company like Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps in Upstate South Carolina can assist in an expert chimney sweep.

What Is The Chimney Sweeping Process?

The chimney sweeping process involves a chimney expert coming into your home and cleaning out the ash and shoot from your fireplace. In addition to this, a thorough chimney sweep will also include a full clean-out of the inside of your chimney. A top-to-bottom cleaning will ensure that no dirt, soot and debris are left inside your chimney after a long winter of use.

Winter Chimney Damage

If you’ve used your chimney all winter, you’ve had the damper and/or the chimney cap open, which can allow rain and snow to enter into your chimney and cause potential damage. Having a professional clean out the mess can make sure your chimney is dry so when you cap it during the spring and summer months there is no moisture trapped inside and damaging your chimney.

In addition to moisture, fallen sticks, leaves and other debris can gather in your chimney during winter. Birds and small animals can enter your chimney and build nests and create quite a mess. A thorough chimney sweeping will eliminate all dirt and debris so your chimney is clean and dry and ready to go next winter.


Another potential danger to your chimney after a long winter of burning fires is creosote. Creosote is a harmful chemical that can build up along the walls of your chimney after many fires have been burned. A chimney sweeping will remove creosote and all other soot and ash so your chimney is not only clean, but also safe.

What To Look For In A Chimney Sweep

You should never attempt a chimney sweeping on your own, but rather invest in a professional company with the experience and the tools to get the job done thoroughly and safely. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends every homeowner find a CSIA Certified company that:

  • Carries insurance
  • Can provide references
  • Has years of experience in the field of chimney inspection and maintenance

A reputable company, like Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, that is CSIA certified will come to your home and thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney. There is a lot of spring cleaning to tackle in every home – let the professionals help sweep your chimney so you can check it off your to-do list.