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Creosote has always been described to be deadly and poisonous. Yes, creosote inside the chimney can be a very bad thing, but then again, like all bad things, creosote has its good side and there are many benefits it can give to other things. The Cozy Flame Hearth Shop would like to share what we know about creosote and how we can prevent it from harming our health and our property.

A natural byproduct of burning, creosote can appear flaky or tar-like.

A natural byproduct of burning, creosote can appear flaky or tar-like.

Brief History

Creosote comes from the Greek words kreas meaning meat and soter meaning preservation because it was traditionally used for that purpose. It is the result of generally burning combustible materials. It is also the result of the distillation of tar which is relatively heavier when compared to water. Where there is smoke, creosote is just around the corner because the smoke triggers creosote formation.

Creosote for Other Purposes

Creosote can be beneficial to people as well. There are two main types of creosote: wood-tar and coal-tar creosote.  Coal-tar creosote is used for preserving wood because it has preservative properties, but it is too toxic to use on other things. Wood-tar on the other hand is used for meat preservation and for medical purposes also. In hospitals, it is used as an anesthetic or a laxative. This is because of its antiseptic properties. However, creosote is not limited to these things only. Other types include water-gas-tar creosote and oil-tar creosote.

Creosote in Chimneys

In chimneys, creosote lingers in walls. At first it’s still called soot, but once it starts to thicken and it will start to have charcoal black colors, then that is already considered to be creosote. You will not know it’s already there unless you actually check the inside of your chimney. It can start rooftop fires in an instant because creosote is highly flammable. When there is already too much, layer after layer, it will now become glazed creosote.

The Best Solution

This process, however, cannot be avoided unless you never use your fireplace anymore which now defeats the purpose. But you can easily lessen the buildup with regular cleaning. The best way to prevent creosote formation from worsening is to have your chimneys cleaned by our licensed professional chimney sweeps. They are highly capable of taking care of your chimney once creosote starts to form. We are licensed by the CSIA and the NFI and have been offering the best of our human resources and services for over sixteen years to the beautiful people of Milford, Connecticut.