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Troubleshooting - Chimney Cleaning

Gooey/Tar-Like Creosote:

Cre-Away® is a powder that can be applied through the woodstove or fireplace by the homeowner. However, for a severe situation such as this, a professional application is usually required. Cre-Away® is a four-component powder that has a dehydrator that helps to dry out the creosote so it can be easily removed by sweeping. It also has a fire suppressant which helps to reduce the chance of a chimney fire during treatment. It may take multiple applications and cleaning but this is the best way to remove this type of creosote.

Hard Glazed Creosote:

This baked-on creosote is difficult to remove. Several products are available for use depending on the severity of the glaze.

Chemical Removal:

If a few small spots are evident, using Stage 2 or Anti-Creosote(ACS) every day for a couple of weeks may be enough to loosen the creosote so a follow-up cleaning could remove it. If the glaze is more severe, or if you have concerns about a possible chimney fire, then Stage 3 or Cre-Away may be needed. Stage 3 is sprayed in the flue and allowed to dry. It may take several applications for removal. Cre-Away should be professionally applied to ensure even coating of the glaze. Since it includes a fire inhibitor, careful burning can be continued while it’s working. Follow-up cleaning may remove the glaze or it may take multiple applications.

Mechanical Removal:

If the creosote build-up is ¼" or less the Stinger Whip or Wizard may be used. These devices attach to special rods which, in turn, attach to a drill. They spin around and scrub the creosote via abrasion from the cables. If more than ¼" or more of build-up is present, the Chain Whip or Glaze Removal Chains are more effective. Never use fiberglass rods with any rotary device. Fiberglass rods are made up of individual strands and cannot take the torque applied when rotary cleaning. Fiberglass rods can cause serious injury in this type of situation. Instead, use ButtonLok Poly or Steel Rods when removing creosote. Also, look for a drill with a clutch so that, in case the tool hangs up below, the clutch should prevent the drill from spinning in your hands causing injury and loss of balance.