Creosote Self-Cleaning Logs: Helpful or Harmful?

Are creosote self-cleaning logs the answer to fireplace woes? Maybe it’s an easy way to keep that chimney clean and make those cold winter mornings bearable, or maybe it should be avoided with caution. Before stocking up on logs, let’s separate fact from fiction and discuss what these self-cleaning logs are all about—the good, the bad, and if they’re actually helpful or harmful for chimneys.

How Do Creosote Self-Cleaning Logs Work?

The Need-to-Know About Creosote

First, let’s define creosote. This tarry, black substance sticks to the walls of a chimney as a result of burning wood and can be flammable if it builds up in large enough quantities.

Fuels like hardwood, softwood, and compressed logs release various by-products, such as smoke, water vapor, hydrocarbons, and tar fog while burning in a fireplace. When these substances escape through the chimney (which is cooler), they condense on the inner surface of the chimney and create a sticky residue called combustible creosote and tar. To keep a chimney clean, it’s important to have it inspected annually and have any creosote removed by a professional.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30%) was having a dirty chimney (i.e., creosote buildup). These fires are completely preventable with regular chimney maintenance!

When Is Creosote Buildup Serious?

Creosote buildup can be a serious fire hazard, so it’s important to take steps to prevent and remove it. There are different stages of creosote buildup, and if left unchecked, it can eventually form a layer of glazed creosote, which is the most combustible type.

Stage I Creosote: This is the most common type of creosote and is characterized by a flaky or powdery layer. It can be safely removed with regular chimney cleaning but should not be ignored.

Stage II Creosote: This type of creosote is darker and shinier than stage I and has a tar-like consistency. If this type of creosote is present, it should be professionally removed to avoid any fire hazards.

Stage III Creosote: This is the most dangerous type of creosote and is usually jet-black in color and glossy or shiny. It’s highly combustible and should be removed immediately by a trained professional.

About Creosote Self-Cleaning Logs

Now, let’s talk about creosote self-cleaning logs. These logs burn at an increased temperature compared to traditional wood-burning logs, which can help break down built-up creosote in the chimney walls. Many brands of self-cleaning logs are designed to be used on an as-needed basis, meaning they should only be burned as needed once or twice a year. Burning these logs more often may lead to damage to the chimney or even fire hazards.

Creosote self-cleaning logs are made from a variety of natural ingredients and chemical accelerants, which helps raise the burn temperature. Some logs contain sawdust mixed with wax or other substances with a higher burning point than traditional wood-burning logs. Other types may contain paraffin wax, sodium nitrate, or charcoal briquettes. The idea is that by burning these logs at higher temperatures, creosote within a chimney will be burned off sooner or avoided altogether. These logs are also designed to release additional chemicals that supposedly enhance the cleaning process.

creosote self-cleaning logs

Are Creosote Self-Cleaning Logs Helpful or Harmful?

Now comes the million-dollar question: Are these logs safe and effective? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer as to whether or not these logs are helpful or harmful for chimneys. Though some chimney sweeps may recommend them, there’s no scientific evidence that these logs actually clean creosote out of a chimney.

In fact, some experts caution against using these logs as they can cause damage to the chimney or even fire hazards if not used correctly. The higher burning temperature released from creosote self-cleaning logs can actually cause further creosote buildup if used improperly or too often.

In short, it’s best to consult a professional chimney sweep before using these logs to ensure they are safe and effective for a fireplace and chimney. Overall, regular maintenance and inspections are key to avoiding the dangers of creosote buildup.

Takeaways About Self-Cleaning Logs:

  • Self-cleaning logs should never be used as the primary source of heat during cold winter months.
  • These logs do not replace the need for annual chimney inspections and cleanings.
  • Burning these logs can increase the risk of a chimney fire if used too often or in combination with other fuels such as coal or wood pellets.
  • The use of these logs can lead to an accumulation of ash in the flue, which can cause dangerous blockages and reduce ventilation.
  • Self-cleaning logs may also emit hazardous fumes and gases, so it’s important to make sure the room is properly ventilated when burning them.
  • Some brands of self-cleaning logs may contain additives that are potentially hazardous to our health and the environment.

The Bottom Line

Creosote self-cleaning logs can be helpful in reducing creosote buildup, butdirty chimney they should be used in moderation and only as a supplement to regular chimney inspections and cleanings. It’s also important to read the directions carefully before using self-cleaning logs and make sure the room is properly ventilated during burning.

Ultimately, the decision to use these logs or not should be based on personal preference and needs. However, it’s important to remember that these are just one tool for helping keep a chimney clean and safe—annual inspections and cleanings by a certified professional should never be replaced or neglected.

Better Ways to Remove Creosote

The best way to remove built-up creosote from a chimney is still a professional cleaning. Certified technicians have the tools and experience necessary to safely remove creosote and other debris from a chimney while also inspecting it for any potential problems or hazards. Additionally, regular inspections can help ensure that the firebox and flue are in good condition and that the chimney is properly ventilated.

Preventing Creosote Buildup

In addition to regular inspections and cleanings, there are a few other ways to prevent creosote buildup in a chimney.

  1. Burning only dry, seasoned wood is one of the best ways to reduce creosote formation, as unseasoned or green wood can create more smoke and cause it to stick to the walls of the chimney.
  2. Burning smaller fires can help prevent creosote buildup as well.
  3. Finally, keeping the damper open and fully extended when lighting a fire can also help reduce smoke and the resulting creosote formation.

Preventing Chimney Fires

Chimney fires are a serious threat and can be caused by built-up creosote, but there are also other factors that increase the risk.

  1. Make sure never to burn any type of flammable materials in the fireplace, such as cardboard boxes or wrapping paper.
  2. Avoid burning items like pine cones or Christmas trees that can cause sparks to fly up the chimney and ignite any built-up creosote or debris.
  3. Finally, keep the fireplace clean and clear of any debris or combustible materials that could catch fire.
  4. Taking these precautions can help reduce the risk of a chimney fire and keep the home safe.

As professional chimney sweeps, we don’t mess around with creosote buildup and take extra care to make sure our chimneys are safe and up to code. If in need of an inspection or cleaning, give us a call today! We’re always happy to help.

In conclusion, creosote self-cleaning logs can be helpful in reducing the build-up of creosote, but they should not be used as a replacement for professional cleaning. For best results, all chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned when necessary by certified technicians.

 

What is the Best Wood to Burn in a Fireplace? To Burn or Not to Burn

What is the best wood to burn in a fireplace?

Burning wood in a fireplace is an enjoyable and cozy experience, especially during the holidays. However, some wood is better to burn than others, and for a good reason. To ensure safety, as well as the safety of family and neighbors, it’s important to familiarize oneself with what types of wood are best for burning in the Bay Area.

The density and moisture of wood all play a role in how hot and how long it will burn. The best woods will burn efficiently, leaving the fireplace or stove clean. On the other hand, some types of wood barely burn at all and just fill the home with smoke instead.

Hardwood V.S. Softwood: What’s the Difference?

Some people think hardwood is stronger than softwood because of its name, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, some types of softwoods are actually harder than hardwoods. So what’s the difference between these two kinds of wood, and which is the best for burning?

What is Hardwood?

The easiest way to identify hardwood trees is to look at their leaves. Hardwood trees typically have deciduous (broad) leaves and are usually found in temperate climates. Examples of hardwoods that are good for burning in the fireplace include oak, hickory, maple, poplar, and ash.

Hardwood burns hotter and longer than softwood because it has a higher density. It also produces less smoke, making it a good choice for those living in urban areas.

What is Softwood?

Softwoods typically have evergreen (needle-like) leaves and are often found in colder climates. Examples of softwoods suitable for burning in the fireplace include pine, cedar, spruce, and fir. Softwoods have a lower density than hardwoods, so they burn faster and produce more smoke. Additionally, they tend to have higher sap levels and more air within their cell structure, which results in a hot, fast burn with a lot of sparks. It is generally not recommended to burn softwood for cooking because the sap can affect the flavor of food.

The Verdict: Hardwood is Better For Burning

Overall, hardwood is the best type of wood for burning in the fireplace and should be used whenever possible. It has a longer burn time than softwood and produces significantly less smoke.

Seasoned Wood is Best

Wood should be seasoned before burning it in the fireplace. Seasoning wood means that it has been allowed to dry out, usually over a period of six months to a year.

Wood that has been recently cut, or unseasoned wood, contains a lot of water – around half its weight. Burning this type of wood can be tricky as it produces more smoke than dry wood and doesn’t burn as well. Seasoned wood has been split, stacked, and stored in a dry area to allow it to dry completely.

Unseasoned or “wet” wood will not burn as efficiently or cleanly and can cause creosote buildup in a chimney, creating a fire hazard. Therefore, when choosing wood to burn, go for seasoned hardwood!

Where to Find Good Burning Wood in the Bay Area

When buying wood to burn, there are several factors to keep in mind: what type of wood, what size, and what quality. The best wood for burning in the Bay Area is dry, seasoned hardwood. It should have been cut and split for at least six months to a year and should have an average moisture content of 15-20%. Seasoned wood is dry to the touch, may have loose bark and splits or cracks in ends, and should feel lightweight for its size.

Firewood can be purchased from local vendors, hardware stores, or online. It is essential to check the quality and ensure it will burn properly.

Firewood is most commonly sold in units of a pallet, cord, face-cord, or bundle.

A full cord of firewood is a stack of wood that is 8 feet long, 4 feet deep, and 4 feet high. Most standard fireplaces, wood stoves, or fire pits will require further cutting, so the logs fit them.

A face cord is a wood pile that measures 8 feet long and 4 feet high, and typically uses 16-inch logs–amounting to 64 cubic feet of wood. It is 1/3rd the size of a full cord.

Firewood bundles are one of the most convenient ways to purchase and use firewood. Most bundles are .75 cubic feet, making them easy to carry and handle. Some campgrounds even sell bundles to visitors. Because of its convenience, bundled firewood is often at the higher end of the price range.

If purchasing wood wrapped in plastic, check whether it is dry before bringing it home. If the wood still feels wet, place it on a firewood rack in a sheltered area so it can continue to dry. It’s best to avoid leaning or stacking firewood against a home – this provides a very cozy place for critters to hide.

Safe Burning Rules

1. Check for Alerts Before Burning

Most of the time, it is perfectly safe to burn seasoned wood throughout the seasons. However, when there are high levels of fine particulate pollution in the air, the county may call for a Spare the Air alert. On these days, the no-burn rule applies to both homes and businesses like hotels and restaurants.

Signing up for text alerts about Spare the Air is easy. Alerts are also posted to the Spare the Air and Air District websites and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Local radio and TV news media also broadcast the alerts.

2. Only Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood

Burning wet or unseasoned wood is not only inefficient, but it also increases the amount of smoke that is released into the air. Burning moist wood produces more soot, which can lead to chimney and air pollution problems.

Furthermore, burning wet wood can cause wood fires to produce more creosote as a result of incomplete combustion. Creosote smells like tar and builds up over time, eventually lining the chimney or flue. This substance poses a significant chimney fire risk as it is highly flammable. Some studies have even indicated that creosote is a probable carcinogen.

3. Use an EPA-Certified Wood Burning Device

Fireplaces or stoves must meet EPA standards for certified wood-burning devices. These appliances are more efficient and produce less smoke than uncertified devices, so they are much better for the environment and general health.

New EPA-certified stoves produce no more than 4.5 grams per hour – older and uncertified stoves release 15 to 30 grams of smoke per hour.

4. Never Burn Garbage, Plastics, or Other Harmful Materials

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what is safe to burn. Burning garbage, plastics, or other materials not meant for burning can release hazardous chemicals into the air and pose a health risk. Here are some more examples of materials that are NOT safe to burn:

  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Cardboard
  • Painted or treated lumber
  • Paper with colored print, including newspapers
  • Fire accelerants or firestarters
  • Dryer lint
  • Driftwood

The best fuel for a fireplace is the fuel it was built for. Other fuels may release toxic fumes, burn too hot for the chimney, cause resin buildup, and cause a risk of chimney fires.

5. Avoid Burning Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus wood is readily available in the Bay Area; these trees are invasive and are constantly being cut down. Although they are hard as stone and take years to dry even when cut and split, they are a pyrophyte, just like pine and cedar. When they catch fire, the sap in them gets hot, boils, and then explodes. Eucalyptus trees were the fuel for the 1991 Oakland Hills fire that destroyed 3,000 homes. 

 

Related Reading: What Is Stage 3 Creosote and How Do You Deal With It?

 

Burning the correct type of wood and following safe burning practices can help keep our air clean and make for a safer, healthier environment. With any questions about what is safe to burn in a fireplace or stove, contact our local chimney sweeps at The Irish Sweep for more information.

Enjoy a cozy, crackling, and safe fire this holiday season!

The 13 Things Professional Chimney Sweeps Want You To Know

The 13 Things Professional Chimney Sweeps Want You To Know

Think you can clean your own chimney? Think again! Professional chimney sweeps have seen it all, and we’ve collected that wisdom and put it in a neat list format for our latest article. Here are 13 things professional chimney sweeps wish you knew – and why you should always hire us for the job!

  1. Creosote buildup is dangerous!!! 

Creosote is a substance that forms when anything is burned, especially wood and manufactured logs. Creosote will build up in the chimney without you realizing it. If the creosote isn’t removed, it will become a fire hazard. That’s why it’s so important to have the chimney cleaned regularly by a professional.

  1. We have specialized tools

Professional chimney sweeps have brushes and vacuums designed specifically for cleaning out chimneys. Specialized equipment helps ensure that all the soot and ash are removed – something that’s crucial to preventing fires.

  1. Chimney sweeping is a vital part of home maintenance

Many people think of chimney sweeping as something that’s only done occasionally, but the truth is that it’s an essential part of regular home maintenance. Sweeping the chimney helps prevent a build-up of creosote, which can cause fires. The chimney should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year – more often if it’s used frequently.

  1. It’s more complicated than Mary Poppins makes it look!

Chimney sweeping may look easy in movies like Mary Poppins, but the truth is that it’s a tough job. It requires a lot of physical strength and stamina, as well as experience, knowledge, and specialized tools. That’s why it’s always best to leave it to the trained professionals.

  1. We know how to spot problems

One of the advantages of hiring a professional chimney sweep is that we know how to spot problems. We can identify issues such as cracks in the flue or blockages that could cause fires. This means we can fix the problem before it becomes a dangerous hazard.

  1. A dirty chimney can cause respiratory problems for our families

Soot and ash aren’t good for our lungs, and a dirty chimney can cause respiratory problems for our families. This is especially true if anyone in the family suffers from asthma or allergies. A professional chimney sweep will ensure that the chimney is clean and safe!

  1. A properly functioning chimney will help keep our home warm and save money on heating costs

If the chimney is blocked or has cracks, it won’t draw air correctly. There will always be air turnover, as this is how fire is fueled. The home can be harder to heat if the fireplace and chimney are functioning correctly, which then costs more money in heating bills. A professional chimney sweep can help ensure that the chimney is working properly, saving money in the long run. 

  1. We can save time and reduce hassle

Cleaning a chimney is a time-consuming job that most people simply don’t have the time for. Hiring a professional chimney sweep will save hassle and ensure that the job is done right.

  1. Wood-burning stoves need to be inspected and cleaned regularly, too!

It’s essential to have a wood-burning stove or insert inspected and cleaned regularly. This is because the chimney, chimney connector, and liner can become blocked with soot, which can be a fire hazard. A professional chimney sweep can clean the wood-burning stove or insert and make sure it’s safe to use.

  1. Chimney sweeps can help with other types of fireplace maintenance

Chimney sweeps can also help with different kinds of fireplace maintenance, such as relining the chimney or repairing damage. Have peace of mind that the fireplace is safe to use all year round!

  1. Call a chimney sweep before there’s a problem

Be proactive – the damage has already happened by the time a problem is noticed. It’s never too late to call a professional; it may just cost more. By then, the damage may have already been done – and it could be dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial to have the chimney cleaned regularly, even if there’s no apparent problem.

12. We carry insurance – just in case

Double-check that the professional chimney sweep carries insurance just in case something goes wrong. It’s good to be protected in the event of an accident!

13. We’re here to help – please call us

Feel free to call us any time. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and help in making the best decision for a home.

9 Frequently asked questions: 

  1. Is the fireplace used regularly?
  2. Is there soot or creosote buildup on the inside of the chimney?
  3. Are there cracks or blockages in the flue?
  4. What’s a flue?
  5. Are there respiratory problems or allergies issues in the household?
  6. Is there a wood-burning stove?
  7. Is other fireplace maintenance needed?
  8. Are there water leaks or moisture in or around the fireplace fascia? 
  9. Does the house smell like a chimney after using it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to call a professional chimney sweep. We can help keep the home safe and save money in the long run. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1979. If you need a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, or other home services, call us today! Schedule our chimney sweep or inspection services today to enjoy a safe fireplace and chimney all year long.

Surprising Benefits of Chimney Sweep Services You Might Not Know About

Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim cher-ee

A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be!

This nostalgic Mary Poppins song rings true – chimney sweep services are absolutely essential to the integrity and safety of your chimney. Lucky indeed!

Even if you’ve lived in a home for twenty years, the chimney is an often intimidating appliance to clean and maintain. Dealing with soot and tight spaces is enough to make anyone queasy.

But chimney sweeps (or chimney service companies) are trained professionals with the experience and know-how to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and without mess!

Here are some surprising benefits of chimney sweep services that you might not know about:

Chimney sweep services prevent chimney fires

In the U.S., there are over 25,000 chimney fires per year. These fires are responsible for over 125 million dollars in property damage.

A chimney fire can reach temperatures upwards of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to crack your chimney’s liner and ignite your house’s framing.

Yikes!

The most common cause of chimney fires is creosote buildup. Creosote is a tar-like substance that forms when wood burns. It’s black, sticky, and flammable.

How does creosote build up in a chimney?

When you burn wood, the smoke rises up the chimney. As the temperature of the chimney increases, the water vapor in the smoke condenses on the chimney walls. This leaves behind a sticky residue that is full of toxins and carcinogens.

Over time, this buildup gets thicker and thicker. If it’s not removed, it becomes a severe fire hazard.

How do chimney sweep services prevent creosote buildup and chimney fires?

Chimney sweeps are trained to identify and remove creosote buildup before it has a chance to ignite. They have specialized tools and equipment to do so – brushes, scrapers, and vacuums specifically designed for chimneys. Chimney professionals also know how to spot other potential fire hazards, like cracks in the chimney lining or blockages.

Chimney sweep services improve the efficiency of your fireplace

If your chimney is blocked by debris, it will affect how well your fireplace drafts.

How do chimneys create drafts?

When a chimney fills with hot gas, the gas rises because it is less dense than the air outside the house. The rising hot gas creates a pressure difference called draft, which draws combustion air into the appliance and expels the exhaust gas outside.

If something is blocking the chimney – like soot, creosote, or debris – it will impede the flow of hot air. This can cause many problems, like smoke spilling into your home, decreased heat output, and even a fire.

A chimney sweep will clear out any blockages in your chimney so that the hot air can escape quickly and easily. As a result, you’ll have a fireplace that works more efficiently and is less smoky.

A good chimney sweep will clear any blockages and ensure the flue is the correct size for your fireplace. They’ll also check for any cracks or leaks and repair them as needed.

As a result, you’ll see a decrease in your energy bills and have fewer issues with smoke in your home.

chimney sweep services

Chimney sweep services keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced whenever fuel is burned. CO blends into the existing air, can’t be heard, felt, seen, or tasted, and can be lethal without a device to detect it.

If your chimney is blocked or damaged, CO from your gas fireplace can leak into your home and poison the people and animals inside.

What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak in a gas fireplace?

  • Soot, smoke, fumes, or back-draft in the house from a chimney, fireplace, or other fuel-burning equipment
  • Sooty or brownish-yellow stains around the fireplace
  • You smell a faint, “rotten egg” odor. Though CO is odorless, sometimes it is accompanied by other exhaust gases you can smell
  • A yellow pilot light flame instead of the usual clear blue

Symptoms of carbon monoxide inhalation are similar to the flu and can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or confusion

If you experience these symptoms and suspect a CO leak, get out of your house immediately and call 911. Then, open all the doors and windows to air out your home.

How can chimney sweep services help?

A chimney sweep will inspect your chimney for any damage that could be causing a CO leak. They’ll make sure the chimney is clear of debris and adequately vented. If they find any cracks or leaks, they’ll repair them so you can use your fireplace safely.

A properly functioning chimney is essential for preventing CO poisoning. A chimney sweep can ensure yours is up to code and working properly.

They can also install CO monitors in your home, which will sound an alarm if dangerous levels of CO are detected.

Chimney sweeps can save you money on your energy bills

If your chimney is blocked, it can’t do its job of venting hot air out of your home.

This can cause your furnace or fireplace to work overtime, driving up your energy bills.

How can chimney sweep services help save money?

  1. A chimney sweep will clear any blockages in your chimney so that hot air can escape and your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
  2. Regularly sweeping ashes from the firebox also allows more oxygen to circulate, making fires hotter. This means you can use less wood to achieve the same heat level, saving you money in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even as little as one-tenth of an inch of soot can decrease a fire’s heat output by 50%.
  3. A chimney sweep can also inspect your chimney and ensure it’s the correct size for your fireplace. If it’s too small, they can recommend ways to enlarge it. This will help your fireplace work more efficiently and save you money on your energy bills.
  4. A chimney sweep can fill cracks and fissures in your chimney, which could otherwise allow carbon monoxide and outside air to seep into your home. Filling these cracks makes your chimney more energy efficient.

These simple chimney maintenance tasks can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Chimney sweeps can extend the life of your chimney

Your chimney is constantly exposed to rain, wind, and sun elements. Over time, this exposure can take its toll on your chimney, causing it to crack or crumble.

Chimney sweeps inspect your chimney for damage and make all necessary repairs.

They can also apply a waterproof sealant to your chimney to help protect it from the elements.

Investing in chimney sweep services can extend your chimney’s life and avoid costly repairs down the road. A well-maintained chimney can last for decades, but a neglected chimney will need to be replaced much sooner.

Chimney sweeps remove bird nests and other animals from chimneys

Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals often take up residence in chimneys. They build nests that can block the chimney and prevent airflow. In some cases, animals may even die in the chimney, which is generally unpleasant and leads to foul odors.

A chimney sweep will safely remove any animals or nests from your chimney so you can use your fireplace without worry. They can also install a chimney cap, which will keep animals out in the future.

Related Reading: How Often Do You Need a Chimney Cleaner/Sweep?

Let Bay Area Chimney Cleaners Help

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1982. If you need a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, or other home services, give us a call today! Schedule our chimney sweep services today to enjoy a safe fireplace and chimney all year long. 

What Is Stage 3 Creosote and How Do You Deal With It?

A dirty chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires! In this article, we will discuss what leads to stage 3 creosote and how to deal with it.

Creosote is a toxic byproduct of burning wood. The black, tarry substance can build up in your chimney over time, and not only is it corrosive and damaging to the flue liner, but it also presents a serious fire hazard.

What is Creosote and How Does it Build Up?

Creosote is a substance that develops as the byproducts of burning wood adhere to the inside of your chimney. The byproducts, including smoke, water vapor, gasses, particles of burned wood and tar fog, rise up the chimney as you burn your firewood. When they reach the cooler parts of the chimney, they rapidly cool and condense on top of each other until they form a black sticky substance known as creosote.

Stage 1 Creosote

The early stages of creosote buildup usually indicate that your chimney has not been cleaned in some time. This type of creosote is dusty, flaky, and relatively easy to remove with a chimney sweep.

Stage 2 Creosote

Stage 2 creosote is harder and blacker than stage 1. It is more difficult to remove, but must be dealt with before it progresses to stage 3.

Stage 3 Creosote

Stage 3 creosote is the most severe stage. It is more concentrated, tarry, and far more likely to cause chimney fires. Creosote also restricts air movement within the chimney and blocks parts of the air column. Surprisingly, this stage can develop in a single burning season, and should only be removed by a licensed chimney sweep, using specialized equipment.

Why is Creosote Buildup So Dangerous?

The biggest danger of stage 3 creosote is that it can cause chimney fires. When the buildup ignites, it burns very hot and may spread to other areas if not quickly contained. In addition, stage III creosote will damage or destroy your flue liner as well as the masonry within the chimney system.

What Can You Do to Prevent Creosote Buildup?

The best way to prevent creosote buildup is to have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. Depending on the size of your fireplace, you should have it swept at least once a year. A good rule of thumb is to schedule a cleaning after 75 fires, or one cord of wood. Also, make sure you are using seasoned wood in your fireplace—freshly-cut wood contains a lot more moisture and causes more creosote buildup.

If it has been a while since you last had your chimney cleaned, contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified technicians!

Here’s What to Do if You Have Stage 3 Creosote

If you have stage III creosote, do not attempt to clean it yourself. Contact a licensed chimney sweep and schedule an appointment for professional cleaning. The Irish sweep will use specialized equipment to remove the creosote buildup and restore your chimney to a safe condition.

For more information on stage III creosote or any other type of fireplace or chimney service, give us a call at 510.521.4088

How and Why To Install a New Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

In this article, we’ll discuss how to install a fireplace insert in your home and the many benefits of doing so.

If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy the warm glow of a fire during the winter. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying an open fire, did you know that installing a fireplace insert could improve your home’s heating efficiency by 70 percent or more? It’s true – a new fireplace insert is one of the best ways to improve the comfort and value of your home. 

What is a Fireplace Insert?

A fireplace insert is a type of wood (or gas) appliance without legs, and they are designed to be placed inside an existing wood fireplace. Fireplace inserts consist of a metal box that is inserted seamlessly into the fireplace opening. Because of their design, fireplace inserts are much more efficient than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They dramatically increase heating capacity and wood-burning efficiency while still enjoying the unmatched warmth, ambiance, and nostalgia that only wood fireplaces can provide.

Choosing a New Insert

The first step to install a fireplace insert is to choose the right model. There are many different types of inserts available on the market, so it’s important to select one that fits your needs and lifestyle.

When choosing an insert, you’ll need to consider the following factors:

  • The size of your fireplace opening
  • The type of fuel you want to use (wood or gas)
  • Your desired heating capacity
  • The efficiency rating of the insert
  • The style of the insert

Once you’ve considered these factors, it’s time to start shopping!

How to Install a Fireplace Insert

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect fireplace insert, it’s time to install it in your home. This job is best done by a professional because it requires special tools and expertise. Our local technicians with The Irish Sweep take a unique approach to installing wood-burning fireplace inserts, incorporating the style and design of each individual fireplace.

If you’re interested in having a wood-burning fireplace insert installed in your home, be sure to contact The Irish Sweep. We’ll install it safely and efficiently. And don’t forget annual maintenance, which will keep your insert running smoothly for decades to come.

If you’re thinking about learning how to install a fireplace insert yourself, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take the proper safety precautions. This is not a quick and easy DIY! 

The Benefits of a New Insert

There are many benefits to installing a new fireplace insert in your home. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Increased heating capacity with less smoke
  • A dramatic increase in wood-burning efficiency
  • Increased home value
  • The ability to zone heat your home
  • Reduced energy costs

If you’re looking for a way to improve the comfort and value of your home, installing a new fireplace insert is a great option.

Talk to Us

Our services at The Irish Sweep can help maintain and enjoy a wood-burning chimney and fireplace all winter and for years to come. We take great pride in offering our fireplace installation services to the resident community and the local Bay Area. To schedule an appointment with our team, call us at (510)521-4088, or visit our contact page.