Fireplaces and wood stoves are enjoyed by many during cold winter months. These appliances provide warmth, comfort, and joy to a household, but they can be dangerous if not cared for properly.That’s why proper chimney care is essential to reduce the risk of chimney fires. RUTLAND® and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend a thorough chimney inspection annually by a certified chimney sweep.

In addition, it’s important to burn dry, seasoned wood only. No matter the type of wood you are burning, a great way to reduce the likelihood of chimney fires is to use soot and creosote removers on a regular basis during the burn season. Soot and creosote are natural by-products of the wood-burning process. However, they can build up in the chimney and become detrimental to both chimney efficiency and safety.

The amount of soot and creosote produced varies depending on the type of wood you are burning, how often you burn, and at what temperature you are burning.

Hardwoods tend to have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) and burn more cleanly, creating very little soot/creosote. Woods of this category include hickory, oak, ash, beech, sugar maple, apple, mulberry, hawthorn, dogwood, and Osage orange.

Soft hardwoods have a medium BTU and may contain some oils and resins that create some soot/creosote. Woods of this category include birch, elm, cherry, Douglas fir, red maple, hackberry, sycamore, walnut, spruce, and yew.

Softwoods have a low BTU and burn at a lower temperature. These woods tend to be more porous and are full of oil and resins that coat the fireplace or stove in soot and/or creosote. Examples of softwoods include pine, Balsam fir, cedar, aspen, poplar, hemlock, willow, boxelder, cottonwood, and basswood. As a general rule of thumb, RUTLAND® recommends using a soot/creosote remover once a week during the burn season if you are burning hardwoods, 2 to 3 times per week if you are burning soft hardwoods, and 6 to 7 times per week if you are burning softwoods.

(It is important to note that no matter what type of wood you are burning, there is always the potential for soot and creosote build-up if you are burning at temperatures less than 200°F.)

Regular use of RUTLAND® soot and creosote removers helps prevent dangerous chimney fires, makes future chimney cleanings easier, and keeps your appliance operating at peak efficiency. Explore our trusted line of soot and creosote removers!