WHAT IS CREOSOTE?
Creosote accumulates in the chimney of any heating appliance using wood, coal or oil as a fuel. Without proper maintenance, these deposits can be very dangerous. Creosote can easily reignite inside a chimney completely undetected until it’s too late, resulting in devastating fires that cause significant property damage and/or loss of life.
So what is this creosote? In every naturally occurring carbon-based fuel (such as wood, coal, oil, and to a lesser extent natural gas and propane), there exists non-volatile compounds that will remain after the fuel ignites and burns to completion. In a domestic wood stove or fireplace, most of this ash settles on the floor, or falls below the floor of the combustion chamber. A small amount of these ash particles are carried in the smoke from the fire, traveling up the chimney.
* This is an extreme example of creosote build-up.
In a domestic environment, wood-burning is seldom a completely efficient process. A small amount of the carbon compounds in the fuel escape up the chimney without being burned. These compounds combine with the ash materials in the smoke as it travels up the chimney. As these materials get further from the fire, they cool and become a sticky black substance that adheres to the inside walls of the chimney. This substance is commonly known as creosote.
Over time, creosote accumulation (if left untreated) becomes an ever increasing fire hazard. The accumulated unburned carbons in the creosote become, for all intents and purposes, a fuel lining the inside of your chimney. Inevitably, this fuel will eventually ignite once enough heat from the fire below reaches the creosote deposits. Once ignited, the resulting fire can spread rapidly and unpredictably.
Although you should always get regular chimney inspections to keep this threat in check, using Co-Mate Chimney Cleaner on a regular basis can virtually eliminate dangerous creosote build-up. In the end, it is up to you to make sure creosote accumulation does not reach dangerous proportions.