Recently we visited a customer’s home where we are installing a new Enviro 1700 wood burning insert to replace an older, early 1990’s unit. A requirement of all our installations is that the customer must have their chimney cleaned prior to our installation work. This customer wondered why he should have to do this as we were going to install a liner system anyway so he thought chimney cleaning may not be necessary as he felt that he had not used the fireplace very much.

Fireplace with creosote-cropped

To his amazement, the amount of creosote that came out of his chimney was scary. Creosote is a highly combustible byproduct of incomplete combustion when burning wood. A serious condition where enough fuel was present that if ignited had the potential to cause a major fire.

Older wood burning inserts and stoves would allow improper operation leading to the heavy kind of buildup pictured below. Current models burn much more efficiently, turning most of this creosote into heat for your home.
Use only clean dry wood and have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.

Chimney Tips:

  1. Use only clean dry wood and have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.
  2.  Schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning before the cold season. You will beat the fall rush and if the inspection reveals any needed repairs, you will have to get the repairs done before the winter.
  3. If you haven’t used your chimney in years – don’t start burning in it until you have it inspected and cleaned. It could be home to animals or there may be cracks or voids in the flu.
  4. Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned.
  5. Creosote can also decrease the draw of the fireplace leading to spoke spilling into your home, and reduced efficiency – costing you more.
  6. Without regular check-ups, the more expensive the chimney repairs are likely to be.
  7. Maintaining a regular chimney cleaning and inspection schedule will be the safest and most economical path to safety and peace of mind for you and your family.