How Often Should Crystallized Creosote Be Removed? How Often Should Crystallized Creosote Be Removed?

It is important and a safety measure to clean creosote from your chimney often. Burning oil, wood or coal can create creosote, a tar-like substance that can stick to the inside of a chimney or stove pipe. If enough builds up and the fire is hot enough, it can actually ignite. Also, breathing smoke that contains creosote can make you sick. The smoke from it can stick to walls and furniture and create an oily film. So cleaning it away should be routine maintenance.

When and How to Clean Creosote

If you use your stove or fireplace twice a week or more, you should clean the creosote about every 6 weeks. This can be done by sprinkling a powder for this purpose onto the fire. For oil or coal, it should go on a hot fire. For wood burning it should go onto the embers as they die.

If you only use your wood stove or fireplace occasionally you can clean it at the end of each burning season. In addition to the powder you sprinkle on there, you can purchase chimney cleaning logs that will melt away creosote and remove it.

If you have a heavy buildup or an old house where the chimney hasn't been kept clean, you may need to use stiff brushes that are made for this purpose. This is usually done at the end of the burning season to get the chimney ready for summer. During hot weather, a creosote buildup can cause a bad odor in your home.

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