Stone, Richard. Creosote: Facts and Fallacies. Rekindle. ISFSI. October,
1984 and November, 1984. Reprinted from the January 1980 issue of Fire Journal
with permission from the Wallace Murray Corporation.
Abstract: This article examines common statements made about chimney
fires that are true and false. They range in topic from wood to creosote
to chimney temperatures.
All types of wood produce creosote, even the driest wood. It is still
important to use dry, seasoned wood because it takes longer to produce the
creosote and it produces less.
Creosote is an organic compound that is produced by burning wood. The
gases produced by the wood condense to their liquid or solid state as they
rise up the chimney and are cooled. Creosote deposits will burn if they
become hot enough. Some chimneys can self clean themselves by burning their
creosote. This does not usually require the chimney to reach temperatures
higher than 1400 degrees. This temperature is safe because most chimneys
can sustain the temperature of 1400 degrees for a full hour. It is massive
creosote deposits that need to be hand cleaned because they pose a fire
hazard by not allowing the proper draft in.