Chimney soot is a fine black or dark brown powder formed due to incomplete combustion of wood or coal in a confined place. Therefore it can be correctly referred to as the byproduct of fireplace combustion. Soot is formed in a temperature lower than 284 degrees. When wood burns, it breaks down and deposits itself as a powdery dust called soot. It is also responsible for giving fire its yellow or reddish orange color.
Due to its color and texture,soot tends to darken and stain surfaces.It stains walls,ceilings, floor, clothes and even skin. Since it is not burnt totally,creosote is slightly sticky and tends to cling to surfaces like exhaust pipes and chimney flues. Due to the tendency to build up and blocking tendency, numerous problems can arise. Let us take a look at what they are:
*A clogged or blocked chimney is not able to draw in air smoothly or efficiently,hence fires become smoky and consume more and more fuel.
*If creosote accumulates in the substantial quantity, it may be the cause of a chimney fire.This is one reason why all chimneys should be regularly inspected and swept by a Certified Chimney Sweep.
* If soot falls back into the house through the chimney, the floors can get dirty and messy. This happens when the byproduct accumulates in the chimney, and due to the back-suction of air,it gets pulled back towards the inside of the home.Soot can stain carpets and floors and cleaning it up can get extremely messy.
* Being a carbon byproduct,soot can also become a health hazard.If inhaled in proportional quantities,it can affect the lungs and result in lung diseases and respiratory infections. This happens as soot contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in its gaseous form. This is not only harmful,but is also difficult to treat in case one acquires a serious infection or illness from this by product.
Chimney soot and creosote is inevitable and will be formed due the use of the fireplace.So to avoid it, the only choice is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected on a regular basis.