You’ve probably been using your fireplace in the cold season and will continue to do so until the Australian summer arrives. There’s nothing like a slow-burning wood fire to bring radiant heat and life to your home, but the combustion process can leave a deposit behind in your chimney that must be cleaned out for the sake of your family’s health and safety.
What is creosote?
If your fireplace isn’t as efficient as it could be, the result can be incomplete combustion. When the wood oils aren’t entirely burnt, they become volatile gas and travel up through the smoke. As you know, smoke cools as it rises and this condenses with other chemicals on the interior of your flue or chimney. The resulting residue is called creosote.
How does it build up?
The creosote in your chimney begins as a loose deposit that can easily be brushed away. With time, it turns into a tar-like deposit that is more difficult to remove and requires special scrapers. If it isn’t removed, creosote hardens when cool and when heated by subsequent fires, it drips onto the flames like candle wax. It’s a compounding problem because the residue restricts the airflow, leading to further incomplete combustion and the creation of more creosote.
Why must you stop this cycle?
Creosote is toxic, and it’s also a fire hazard. So it’s dangerous to your health and home. The creosote deposits created in your chimney are flammable, and when they ignite, they can cause a searing hot fire.
Some of the health symptoms from creosote exposure can be irritating and become severe. You may notice skin rashes or your eyes may become sensitive to light. Respiratory problems are also a risk and, with enough long-term exposure (although unlikely), could result in cancer because creosote is carcinogenic.
How do I get rid of this dangerous problem?
If you suspect your chimney has some creosote build-up, the safest and most reliable way to get rid of it is to call in a professional. Some homeowners use creosote sweeping logs to reduce build-up, but they can’t remove it all.
The type of wood you burn also plays a part. Use only dry, seasoned wood that will burn more completely than greener wood and produce fewer by-products. And of course, burn only wood and nothing else in your fireplace.
Prevention is better than cure
There is a smarter way to burn wood. Quadra-Fire Quad-Burn technology uses a four-point system to aid combustion and burn away impurities before they collect in your chimney or flue. It’s a much more efficient and cleaner way to keep warm with a wood-burning fireplace.
Contact your nearest distributor today to find out more about the safest and most energy-efficient wood burning fireplaces in Australia.