Fuel oil and natural gas prices have soared, and with them so has the popularity of alternative fuels. Wood stove, pellet stove and fireplace use are all on the rise, and with each of these comes a hidden danger that every dedicated “wood burner” needs to keep in mind: Burning wood creates creosote, and if left untreated creosote can cause fires.
The “Skinny” on Creosote
When wood fire burns, it releases unburned gases. These unburned gases condensate on the walls of the chimney liner or flue tile and form a tarry or glazed substance called creosote. Creosote becomes dangerous when allowed to accumulate in the chimney, where it becomes a fuel source for a potential chimney fire. Creosote buildup can be minimized by burning small hot fires and using dry, well seasoned wood, but the reality is the formation of creosote from burning wood cannot be avoided.