Creosote is a highly flammable and toxic substance which is formed when wood is burnt at high temperatures. Creosote can build up on the walls of your chimney or stovepipe when left untreated. It leaves a black, oily residue which can prevent the flow of air through the chimney, resulting in a fire hazard. To prevent a fire, products can be used to remove the creosote.
Creosote Removal Powder
Creosote removal powder is a chemical substance which is applied to the chimney walls and up the flue. The powder contains a magnesium catalyst which reacts with the creosote when heated by a burning fire, causing it to loosen so that it can be easily brushed away when the fire has been put out. Chimneysaver advises that powder products are strong enough for use on thick and stubborn layers of creosote and is an excellent way to eradicate heavy build-up. The Cre-Away brand of creosote removal powder is a recommended product of Chimneysaver.
Creosote Removal Liquid
Creosote can also be broken down using a manganese-based spray which is applied directly onto the wood or fire itself. When the spray makes contact with the creosote, a chemical reaction occurs which causes the creosote to dissolve into ash. The ash then falls into the fire pit and can be safely swept away when the fire is put out. According to Ask the Chimney Sweep, creosote removal liquid is best suited to the maintenance and prevention of creosote build-up in your chimney, following a more thorough clean using a removal powder or by hiring a chimney sweep. This is because it is less powerful and also easier for you to apply yourself on a regular basis. Ask the Chimney Sweep says that Anti-Creo-Soot (ACS) is the leading creosote removal liquid.
Chimney Sweep Removal
A more traditional way to eradicate creosote is to hire a chimney sweep. Chimney Sweep Online advises that this is a safe and effective method because chimney sweepers have exclusive access to the highest concentration of removal products and cleaning devices. A removal exercise carried out by a chimney sweep would normally involve three separate visits over a period of approximately two weeks. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also recommends that you have regular inspections carried out by chimney sweepers to prevent creosote levels building up to dangerous levels. It provides a service on its website which locates a certified chimney sweep in your area.