When it comes to home repairs, some homeowners will often try the “patch it for now, deal with it later” approach. Simply put, this usually ends up costing a lot more money in the long run. If the area of needed repair or cleaning involves the chimney or fireplace, this is surely the case. A better approach is to fix it now and fix it right.
Putting something like cleaning up a creosote buildup is a perfect example of this very situation. Not only does it smell bad, but it is also extremely dangerous. In addition, homeowners need to be aware of conditions such as water leaking down into a chimney with a buildup of creosote. This is dangerous for a variety of reasons.
To keep water out, a flue has to be capped and a chase has to be crowned. If those parts are not in good condition, water will enter the chimney and begin to destroy the rest of it. A flue compromised by water is much less likely to contain a chimney fire started by creosote.
In another sense, ‘protection from creosote build-up’ means regular professional cleanings by certified sweeps. If you burn wood, creosote forms. If you leave it there, it gets worse. Do nothing and it corrodes your flue. Furthermore, it increasingly blocks the chimney’s draft, and its fumes are made worse by damp air and water.
As with most things, protection from creosote build-up is really prevention of its significant accumulation to the extent possible and readiness for the rest. Accordingly, another aspect to ‘protecting yourself’ from creosote build-up is to burn only seasoned wood. The more water in the wood you burn, the more chance there is of having a creosote buildup that could have potentially been avoided.