What are the Dangers of Creosote Buildup in the Chimney?
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, creosote buildup occurs to some extent with each use. Creosote buildup is dangerous because it puts your home and family at risk in several ways. Creosote is a brown or black tar-like combustion byproduct that can take the form of flaky, crusty, or drippy, hardened residue inside the walls of the chimney flue. It is highly flammable. Details follow on the dangers of creosote buildup.
What are the Dangers of Creosote Buildup?
The potentially life-threatening dangers of creosote buildup include an increased risk of a chimney fire that can lead to a home fire, exposure to toxic fumes, and possible health issues.
A Chimney Fire and Potential Home Fire
Once there is creosote inside your chimney liner, a floating ember can cause it to ignite. Chimney fires are hazardous because they virtually always cause some level of structural damage. The chimney flue is most vulnerable to the destructive effects of a chimney fire, and using a fireplace or stove safely depends upon a fully intact flue liner. The more creosote there is inside the chimney, the longer a chimney fire has the fuel it needs to keep on burning and increasing in intensity. When a chimney fire does serious damage to the chimney flue, the flames can easily and quickly spread into the home.
Chimney Blockage Leading to Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Creosote continues to build up inside of chimney flues until a chimney sweep removes the residue. As chimney cleaning services continue to be neglected, a chimney can become blocked by excessive creosote buildup. This is another of the potentially deadly dangers of creosote. Any obstruction in the flue prevents combustion gases from being released through the chimney. So, the toxic fumes enter the home instead.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is among the toxic gases released by wood fires. Known as The Silent Killer, carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, invisible, and symptomless to the point that victims exposed to the fumes can find it impossible to escape.
Potential Health Issues Caused by Exposure to Creosote
Coming into physical contact with creosote could cause skin irritation that is seen in the form of rashes and other reactions. If creosote gets into the eyes, it can cause light sensitivity. In addition, you could experience symptoms like those caused by chemical burns. Breathing in particles of creosote over a course of time could lead to the development of respiratory issues. Back in the days when cleaning chimneys meant continuous contact with creosote, it was discovered that extreme exposure causes cancer.
Among the reasons to rely on a chimney sweep for chimney cleaning is to avoid these potential health-related dangers of creosote buildup.
Contact Chimney Saver Solutions
Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Chimney Saver Solutions have all the best modern equipment for carefully chimney sweeping and cleaning while protecting homes from toxic creosote. Routine chimney cleaning is the way to avoid the dangers of creosote buildup.
Chimney Saver Solutions is located at 9306 Old Staples Mill Rd in Richmond VA. To schedule an appointment, fill out our contact form or call 804-440-5000 today.