Our Company Blog

Do You Need Glazed Creosote Removal?

It can be difficult to recognize an issue with your chimney system—especially when the majority of the issues take place INSIDE the system. If you burn wood, there are many gases and particles produced by the fire, and some of it coats the walls of the chimney system every time a fire is burned. If it isn’t removed through routine chimney sweeps, it will build up, heat up, and transform into stage three, or glazed creosote. It’s more difficult to remove, is flammable and dangerous, and can bring down the efficiency of the system significantly.

What is Glazed Creosote

Do You Need Glazed Creosote Removal - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWhen the fire produces creosote, it rises up the chimney and deposits bits onto the flue walls. Burning green or wet wood can increase the amount of creosote that is produced, and the amount that coats the walls. A chimney problem that decreases efficiency will also increase the amount of creosote in the chimney. It’s important to clean this away regularly. It’s made up mostly of tar, so it’s flammable. When it builds up and heats up, the moisture evaporates, leaving a highly concentrated “glazed” product that is dense and extremely flammable.

Signs and Symptoms

-A decrease in efficiency is a clear indication that something in the system is off. If you have an issue with the chimney or fireplace, and troubleshooting doesn’t help, you need to schedule a service appointment with a chimney expert.
-A glossy blackness on the chimney cap, around the top of the flue, and inside the firebox, stove, or insert indicates a creosote issue.
-Odors from the fireplace opening that smell of barbecue or a dirty stove, oven, or grill.
-Soot falling into the firebox or stove when it’s not in use.

What We Do

Glazed creosote can look permanent because it is dense, solid, and attached to your chimney walls. The important thing to remember is that it can be removed—and without damaging your flue liner. At Pristine Sweeps we specialize in glazed creosote removal. It requires a special industrial agent to be applied to the creosote, which transforms it, causing it to flake away. It’s then easily removed with a simple vacuuming system used for standard chimney sweeps.

Preventing Buildup

You can avoid needing glazed creosote removal, and avoid the dangers of flammable creosote in your chimney flue by scheduling a few preventative services. A routine chimney sweep will clean away creosote and soot before it gets to a dangerous stage. Scheduling annual chimney inspections can also prevent a buildup by keeping the chimney healthy. A chimney that works well will have less creosote buildup.

It’s not too late for your chimney maintenance. If you haven’t had it inspected in the last 12 months, you need to schedule one now. Call Seattle’s #1 choice for chimney maintenance now.

Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Creosote Removal

Part of enjoying a fire is contending with the mess that comes with it. Wood fires naturally produce ash, soot, creosote, smoke, and more. The chimney system works constantly to vent these harmful byproducts from the home. However, over time the chimney can become coated with soot and creosote. When soot and creosote are left to build up in the chimney flue, it can lower efficiency. This causes increased fire risks and health concerns. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections in order to maintain the highest levels of chimney safety and efficiency.

Soot Versus Creosote

Creosote Removal img - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsSoot is a powdery substance that is easily removed by standard tools during a chimney sweep. Creosote is black or brown like soot, but appears crusty or flaky. It is made up of tar and melts as it heats up. It appears drippy and sticky, then it cools into a hard and shiny mass. Creosote is highly flammable and becomes more so as it heats and cools repeatedly. As creosote continues to buildup in the flue, and transforms into this hard mass, it only worsens, resulting in a flue fire.

Glazed Creosote

When creosote has been left in the chimney flue long enough to buildup and become shiny and hard it is called glazed, or level three creosote. Level three is considered highly flammable and dangerous. If you have a level three buildup your chimney will not pass a CSIA chimney inspection and failing to keep your chimney working properly will shorten its life.

Creosote in the chimney can restrict airflow, causing even more creosote to build up in the chimney flue. When airflow slows down in the chimney, the draft doesn’t pull the vapors and smoke up and out of the chimney properly. As the airflow slows, the soot, creosote, and sparks stall in the chimney along with the air. The sparks can easily ignite the creosote on the flue walls.


If your chimney expert recommends glazed creosote removal, this is a serious problem that should be addressed. Glazed creosote removal is more complicated than a standard chimney sweep in which a technician cleans away soot and creosote with brushes and a vacuum system. Glazed creosote can’t be brushed away, however, Pristine Sweeps specializes in its removal. All of our certified chimney sweeps are trained in the use of specially-formulated chemical cleaning products designed to remove glazed creosote. These products create a reaction that changes the texture of the creosote for easier removal. During your chimney appointment the glazed creosote becomes flaky and easier to remove with chimney sweeping tools.


It is important to hire a professional to remove dangerous creosote from your chimney in order to keep your family safe and warm. This type of service takes more time and money than a standard chimney sweep and can be completely avoided. Creosote is a natural byproduct of your fire, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. Some conditions encourage a creosote buildup including restricted air supply, improper fuel, and cool chimney temperatures.

To find out more about creosote and chimney fires click here or call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414.