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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What to know about chimney/ wood stove fires creosote build ups

12/15/2022 (Permalink)

It is that time of years again, temperatures drop, and the fireplaces light up and because of this there are unfortunate circumstances that can cause fire or smoke damage to your home. Chimney/wood stove fires and puff backs can be caused by a plethora of reasons. Most commonly it caused by buildup in the chimney or pipes.

How to know if you have a build up

Before first starting your chimney or wood stove this season, look up. If you a see thick black or brown substance stuck to the inside of the chimney or the pipes of the wood stove, you may have a buildup of Creosote which is a tar like substance that can stick to the inside of a fireplace. A couple more signs you may have a buildup are

  • Reduced drafting in fireplace or wood stove
  • Less ash and more singed wood after a fire
  • Black soot in and around fireplace
  • Black smoke coming from chimney

If you are knowdessing any of these signs don’t worry, here are a few tips to clean the fireplace and reduce the amount of creosote and stay warm this winter.

Keeping your chimney/wood stove clean and safe to use

You can always call a professional chimney sweeper, according to MCP chimney &masonry inc. a more budget friendly option is taking equal parts salt, dish soap and ½ cups of ammonia to make a paste (remember to open windows and/or create air circulation and wear gloves and perhaps a mask while cleaning with ammonia and handling creosote) creosote can stain any surface as well so maybe put down a plastic sheet or garbage bags as well. After you have prepared the work area, yourself, and the cleaning solution, the next step is to apply the paste you created directly to the fireplace anywhere that you can see creosote. Apply until the entire area is covered, then allow it to sit and penetrate the creosote for a period of at least 15 minutes at least. The thicker and more stubborn the creosote, the longer you can let the paste sit. After the appropriate amount of time has passed grab a steel wool or stiff wire brush to scrub in circular patterns to loosen any stubborn pieces of creosote along the surface and pipes of chimney or wood stove. After the surface is clean take a spray bottle with cold water and saturate the areas the ammonia was on to remove any remaining ammonia from the surface as the vapors can be harmful to you. You may have to repeat this cycle a few times depending on your chimney and the amount of creosote and how long it has been since last cleaned. Accidents happen, should you find yourself with smoke or fire damage you can always contact SERVPRO, and we will clean it up like it never happened. 

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