How to Remove Creosote From Chimney?

December 4, 2023
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How to Remove Creosote From Chimney?

Have you ever wondered, “How to remove creosote from the chimney?” If you’ve been enjoying cozy nights by the fireplace, chances are your chimney has been silently accumulating a not-so-welcome guest – creosote.  

Creosote is a harmful substance that forms when you burn wood, and it’s not something you want hanging around. It’s black, sticky, and, worst of all, it can catch fire! So, whether you have a fireplace or a wood stove, it’s super important to clean out this creosote regularly to stay safe.

To remove creosote from your chimney, you’ll need a special brush to scrub away the black gunk and a vacuum to clean up the mess that falls down. If the creosote is stubborn, it’s a good idea to get professionals to check your chimney and clean it properly.

In this guide, we’ll showcase the easy and effective ways to deal with this creosote problem.

What is Creosote in the Chimney?

Creosote in the Chimney pipe

Creosote is a tar-like substance that forms when wood is burned incompletely. It comes from the fire process and is made of things that didn’t burn well, like hydrocarbons and other organic stuff. Creosote can catch fire really easily, and that’s a big reason why chimneys sometimes go up in flames. 

Also, it can clog up your chimney, which is not good because it might make poisonous gas called carbon monoxide come into your home.

Causes of Chimney Creosote Problems

Let’s first explore the reasons why creosote can cause problems in chimneys before knowing how to get rid of creosote buildup:

Incomplete Wood Burning

When wood doesn’t burn completely, it creates creosote. It happens because the wood doesn’t turn into ash completely, leaving behind stuff that turns into creosote.

Wet or Unseasoned Wood

Burning wood that’s wet or not properly dried makes more smoke and makes the inside of the chimney cooler. This wetness helps creosote stick to the walls of the chimney.

Infrequent Chimney Cleaning

If you don’t clean the chimney often, creosote builds up over time. This buildup is like a home for creosote, making it solid and risky because it can catch fire.

Cool Chimney Temperatures

Chimneys working at low temperatures let the creosote turn from gas to a solid on the walls. This often happens in chimneys connected to appliances that don’t get very hot.

Use of Softwoods

Softwoods, like pine, make more creosote than harder woods. If you burn softwoods, creosote builds up faster in the chimney.

Improper Airflow

Not enough air getting in or a poorly designed chimney means less oxygen for the fire. This can make more creosote during burning.

Burning Trash or Green Wood

Burning things like trash or wood that’s not dried properly makes creosote more likely. These things release more stuff that turns into creosote and sticks to the chimney.

Cold Weather Operation

Using chimneys in cold weather can make the inside of the chimney colder. When mixed with moisture in the smoke, this makes creosote forms on the walls.

Faulty or Damaged Chimney Liner

If the liner inside the chimney is broken or not working right, it can mess up the flow of gases. This disruption leads to condensation and creosote building up.

Lack of Chimney Cap

Without a cap on the chimney, things like debris and water can get inside. Debris helps creosote build-up, and water makes it happen even faster.

How to Remove Creosote From Chimney?

So, how to get creosote out of the chimney? You can get rid of creosote from your chimney using different methods. The usual ways of cleaning creosote from the chimney are:

Tools and Materials

Get ready with the stuff you need! First, gather your tools: a chimney brush, a ladder, gloves, goggles, and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. And remember, make sure your fireplace is cool before starting the process.

Inspect the Chimney

Start by looking at your chimney to see if there’s creosote buildup. Search for shiny, tar-like stuff on the walls. Creosote levels can be first, second, or third-degree, with the third being the riskiest.

Pick the Right Brush

Choose a brush that is the right size for your chimney flue. Attach it to flexible rods so it can reach the whole chimney.

Stay Safe

Put on protective gear to keep yourself safe from creosote and debris. Wear goggles for your eyes and gloves to avoid touching the stuff.

Time to Brush

chimney creosote cleaning by brush

Brushing is the best way to get rid of creosote in your chimney. Get a chimney brush that fits your chimney flue and a drop cloth to cover your floor. To brush your chimney, simply insert the brush into the chimney and scrub the walls of the flue vigorously. Use an up-and-down motion to dislodge creosote deposits. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire chimney.

There are a number of commercial chemical creosote removers available. These products can be applied to the walls of your chimney flue with a sprayer or brush. These chemicals work, but they can be risky, so make sure to read and follow the instructions and safety rules carefully.

On the other hand, You can use special logs called creosote sweeping logs to clean your chimney. These logs burn really hot and release chemicals that break down creosote. While they’re easy to use, it’s important to know they might not work as well as brushing or using chemical creosote remover.

Clean Up

As you brush, creosote and soot will fall into the fireplace. Use a vacuum cleaner with a mechanical air filter, called a HEPA filter, to clean up the debris. This prevents it from entering your living space.

Do It Again if Needed

If the creosote is tough, you might need to brush again. It’s super important to make sure your chimney is really clean.

Get a Pro Check

Think about hiring a professional chimney sweep for a full check and cleaning, especially if you’re not sure about your chimney’s condition.

Besides, do you know how often you should sweep your chimney? Visit our insightful blog to learn all about this topic.

How to Prevent Creosote Buildup

To avoid creosote buildup in your chimney, follow these steps:

1. Burn dry, seasoned wood. Wet wood makes more creosote.

2. Get your chimney checked and cleaned every year. A pro can remove creosote and find any chimney issues.

3. Use a chimney cap. It keeps debris and moisture out, reducing creosote buildup.

How to Get Rid of the Creosote Smell in the House?

If your home smells like creosote, try these tips:

1. Open windows to let fresh air in.

2. Put bowls of baking soda around your house to absorb smells.

3.Clean surfaces exposed to creosote with soap and water.

In addition, do you know why the chimney leaks and how to fix it? Take a look at our blog on this topic to find out the right answer.

Why Air Duct Now?

If you need help with your chimney in Los Angeles, CA, choose Air Duct Now for professional services to keep it in good shape. Our chimney sweep service in Los Angeles ensures your home stays cozy and safe. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and we’re licensed and insured. 

Why pick us? Our skilled team cares about safety, doing a good job, and making sure you’re happy. We clean, fix, and take care of chimneys really well, making your home clean and safe. Our prices are fair, and our licensed and insured team is quick to respond. 

Choose us for the best chimney inspection and repair service in Los Angeles. We check your chimney, clean out anything dirty, and make sure everything is neat and tidy, giving you peace of mind and a warm home.

Wrapping Up

To sum it up in our guide about “How to Remove Creosote From Chimney?” — keeping your fireplace safe and working well is all about regular care. Just follow the tips we talked about, like cleaning the chimney and using special logs to prevent creosote buildup. Making sure to get rid of creosote not only keeps your home safe from fires but also makes your time by the fireplace more enjoyable and stress-free.


How does a glazed creosote remover work?

These products usually have special chemicals that break down and loosen hard glazed creosote. This makes it easier to remove when cleaning the chimney.

How to remove creosote from chimney flue?

Use a chimney brush to scrub away creosote and then vacuum the debris that falls. For stubborn cases, consider professional cleaning.

How to clean creosote from the outside of the chimney?

Scrub the outside of the chimney with a stiff brush and soapy water. Rinse thoroughly with a hose.

Will a hot fire remove creosote?

No, a hot fire won’t remove creosote. It can make it worse by causing more buildup and increasing the fire hazard.

Can you burn creosote out of the chimney?

No, burning creosote out of the chimney is unsafe. It can lead to a chimney fire and should be avoided. Professional cleaning is recommended.

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