Chimney fires can accelerate quickly and without warning, and among the most fast-moving and dangerous fires. Keeping your chimney clean can help remove soot and creosote buildup, which can prevent these fires from occurring – not to mention, regular cleaning and inspection is required by Ontario law. Before you start up the wood stove or fireplace this fall, make sure to call and have your chimney cleaned and inspected first.
The Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association offers a comprehensive article discussing how creosote forms in chimneys. While it can take multiple different forms as it condenses in the chimney, creosote builds up as the particulate-filled air from the burning wood in your fireplace cools inside the chimney, allowing the products to accumulate along chimney walls. Over time, this can begin to grow quite thick – especially if you’re not regularly cleaning your chimney – and one stray ember can catch it ablaze, resulting in an unseen but potentially disastrous fire.
In addition, three factors can also contribute to the formation of creosote, notes the OMFPOA article. First, the air flow through the chimney can cause creosote to build up. If there are overly restrictive dampers or insufficient air flowing in, the smoke can linger in the chimney instead of being vented rapidly, which allows more time for the air to cool and condense into creosote lining. Similarly a cold flue can also allow buildup to occur more rapidly. External chimneys, for example, are typically colder as they are exposed on at least one side to the cold air outside, which allows the interior of the chimney to become far colder, creating a more ideal environment for the hot smoke to deposit exhaust particles from the fire.
Lastly, using unseasoned wood can also accelerate creosote buildup. Green wood requires more energy to burn as the wood is still more filled with water than wood that has been left to dry and age. As a result, the smoke from a green wood fire is already cooler, only worsening problems with cold chimneys and slow airflow. Make sure to use only seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood stove to help prevent creosote from building up.
At Superior Air Duct Cleaning, we perform comprehensive chimney cleaning and inspection services all throughout the greater Toronto area. Our technicians remove all existing ash and unburned wood from your chimney and use a large vacuum and drop cloths to help prevent soot, creosote and ash from making a mess of your home. We also use an air-powered rod and specially attached brushes to thoroughly sweep clean creosote buildup away, and repeat this process until your chimney is clean again. Following the process, the specialist performs a thorough review to ensure that not only has all soot and creosote been removed, but that there are no holes, gaps or problems in the chimney that might require a repair.
Provide yourself and your family with additional peace of mind this fall by scheduling your chimney cleaning and inspection before the snow falls. For more information or to request an appointment, contact Superior Air Duct Cleaning today.