Best Creosote Remover (Reviews and Buying Guide 2021)

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Creosote is one of several unwanted byproducts that results from the burning of firewood. It occurs mostly if the firewood isn’t dry enough. High moisture content, which also responsible for excessive smoke production during heating, creates a lot of creosote.

Creosote can have both short terms and long-term impacts on the home. Short-term, it can line the inside of the flue, causing efficiency issues. Remember that the flue is designed to enable the smooth exit of combustion gases. Creosote can compromise this function. Long-term consequences are even more impactful.

Fortunately, creosote can be easily removed using creosote remover products. Read on to learn more about creosote, how it’s formed, and the potential dangers, as well as how creosote removes work to eliminate this stubborn combustion byproduct.

Before we get to the detailed discussion, though, the following are five of the best creosote removers to consider if you’re out there shopping;

Best Creosote Remover Reviews

1. Rutland Products 2-LB Creosote Remover

Rutland Products 2 lb Creosote Remover
  • Creosote remover penetrates the sticky, tar-like creosote and turns it into a loose, powdery, non-adhering ash that can easily be brushed away.
  • Safe for use in all types of chimneys, fireplace inserts, wood stoves, airtight stoves, free-burning fireplaces and will not harm catalytic converters.
  • 2 lb. container - up to 16 applications (1 oz. scoop included)
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Heat activated at 265°F

Rutland Products creosote remover model #98 is one of the best solutions to creosote build-up in the home. It penetrates the sticky, tar-like creosote and turns it into a loose, powder-like non-adhering ash that is easy to brush away.

To use the remover, add -12 scoops to the fire two times per week. You’ll not only break down all the bonds holding the creosote in your chimney together but also prevent further creosote build-up.

The best part is that this creosote remover is safe for use in all types of chimneys, fireplace inserts, wood stoves, airtight stoves, and free-burning fireplaces. Also, it doesn’t harm catalytic converters.

This particular product comes in a 2-lb container that can last 16 applications. A 1.0oz. scoop container is included to make your work even easier.

Pros

  • Safe for everyday use
  • Heat-activated at 265°F
  • Lasts 16 applications
  • Warranty available

Cons 

  • The warranty is restrictive
  • Contains crystalline silica (a carcinogen)

2. MEECO Red Devil 5-Pound Creosote Destroyer

MEECO'S RED DEVIL 5-pound Creosote Destroyer
  • Convenient 5 lb. tub
  • Controls creosote buildup
  • Destroys existing creosote formations
  • Regular use makes chimney cleaning easier
  • Made in the USA

In 1937, a Seattle-based company, Marine Electrolysis Eliminator Company (MEECO), under a contract from the United States Department of Natural Resources, developed a product to remove soot from wood-burning stand-by generators and power plants.

After the soot remover’s successful delivery, the company trademarked the name MEECO Red Devil and introduced the product to the general public. Fast forward to today, and MEECO makes some of the best creosote removers around the world.

This particular product comes in a convenient 5-lb tub and works by destroying the bonds in the existing creosote and preventing the formation of new creosote. It’s best suited to woodstoves and fire inserts. Regular use of the remover makes it easier to clean the chimney.

Pros

  • Comes in a convenient 5-lb tub
  • Easy to use
  • Makes the chimney easier to clean
  • Prevents further creosote build-up

Cons 

  • Could contain carcinogenic materials
  • No mention of warranty

 

3. Lquid Creosote Remover

Sale
Rutland Products Rutland Liquid Creosote Remover,...
  • Great for pellet stoves, fireboxes, and spot treatment in your stove.
  • Safe for use in all types of chimneys, fireplace inserts, wood stoves, airtight stoves, free-burning fireplaces and will not harm catalytic converters.
  • Creosote remover penetrates the sticky, tar-like creosote and turns it into a loose, powdery, non-adhering ash that can easily be brushed away.
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Heat activated at 265°F

This product from SaverSystems is another excellent choice for creosote removal in the home. Also known simply as ACS, it has been around since around 1982 and remains one of the industry’s favorite creosote removers. It also improves efficiency in wood and coal-burning stoves, fireplaces, boilers, fireplaces, and pellet stoves.

ACS works by attacking the dangerous creosote and soot in the chimney to help prevent chimney fires. It also makes chimneys easier to clean and is safe for use with catalytic combustors. It is non-toxic, easy to use, and comes in portable 32oz bottles for convenient handling.

You’re encouraged to use the remover daily during the heating season for the best outcome. Daily use improves transfer through appliances since 1/32” of carbon insulates the same as 2” of asbestos.

Pros

  • Makes chimney cleaning easier and more complete
  • Reduces creosote odors and pollution
  • Non-toxic and easy to use
  • Can eliminate glazed chimney creosote

Cons 

  • May contain carcinogenic elements

 

4. Rutland Safe-T-Flue Chimney Cleaner

Rutland Safe-T-Flue Chimney Cleaner, 5-Pound
  • A couple of scoops a few times per week. Keeping your chimney clean and safe couldn't be easier than this
  • Attacks and cleans out soot and creosote deposits from your flue
  • Use in any wood or coal fire and keep your chimney safe and clean
  • 5 pounds provides 40-60+ treatments
  • Best for masonry flues

Rutland Safe-T-Flue chimney cleaner is a little different from the other creosote removers. It comprises heat-activated granules that you place in a fire. When burnt, the granules rise with the heat and break down any soot and creosote residing in the flue and prevent further formation of creosote.

The cleaner instantly transforms existing soot and creosote into loose, non-adhering ash that can easily be brushed. The number of scoops necessary to deliver the results you desire will depend on your fire’s size and the amount of existing creosote.

However, 1-2 scoops/week is recommended if you’re using it for the first time. For less intense heating, consider a scoop a week or even every two weeks.

The company offers an 18-month warranty period during which the creosote remover doesn’t cause any chimney material defects. Beyond the 18 months, Rutland doesn’t provide any other warranty.

Pros

  • Does not harm catalytic converters
  • Cleans out existing soot and prevents creosote formation
  • The 5-pound container provides 60+ treatments
  • 18-month limited warranty

Cons

  • The warranty is a bit confusing

 

5. Rutland Products Rutland Liquid Creosote Remover

Sale
Rutland Products Rutland Liquid Creosote Remover,...
  • Great for pellet stoves, fireboxes, and spot treatment in your stove.
  • Safe for use in all types of chimneys, fireplace inserts, wood stoves, airtight stoves, free-burning fireplaces and will not harm catalytic converters.
  • Creosote remover penetrates the sticky, tar-like creosote and turns it into a loose, powdery, non-adhering ash that can easily be brushed away.
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Heat activated at 265°F

Even with regular cleaning, sticky creosote can still build up in the flue. The Rutland liquid creosote remover helps keep the fireplace clean and safe by transforming hard and difficult to remove creosote build-up into a loose, brushable powder.

The best part is that this is a spray applicator. This makes it very easy to spot-treat or apply the remover to the chimney flue’s top section. Alternatively, you can also pre-treat the fireplace wood before you begin heating.

The liquid creosote remover is great for all stove and flue types but works best for pellet stoves where granules fall through the burner pan.

Remember that the liquid evaporates with ease. Therefore, even if you decide to pre-treat your wood, you don’t need to worry about making the wood wet.

Pros

  • Comes in a convenient spray applicator
  • Can be used to pre-treat firewood
  • It evaporates, leaving wood dry
  • Safe for use in most chimney types

Cons 

  • The existing warranty is short
  • Warranty is also complex

 

6. Chimney Saver Cre-Away Creosote Modifier

ChimneySaver Cre-Away Creosote Modifier (16 Oz...
  • REMOVES CREOSOTE WITH EASE – Fast, Effective, and Easy To Use! Our powerful formula works to destroy glazed creosote and soot in your wood burning fireplaces, chimneys, and stoves. Strong fireplace cleaner to make chimney sweeping easier
  • 4 PHASE POWDER – Chimney cleaning powder specially engineered to remove creosote in 4 phases: Neutralizes to less corrosive and flammable, absorbs oils & moisture, reduces the chance of a chimney fire, and breaks down third degree creosote when the flue is heated
  • REDUCES ODORS – Cre-Away not only breaks down and helps remove dangerous creosote build up, but will act as a strong fireplace deodorizer. The reactive agent, dehydrator, and magnesium catalyst work together to break down and absorb chemical smells
  • EASY TO USE – Safe and effective chimney sweep kit. Simply squeeze the bottle near the flue and the powder is then carried up the chimney beginning the breaking down process. Once heated as normal, the creosote will turn to ash - making it easy to sweep and clean up
  • PROFESSIONALS CHOICE – Cre-Away has been the go-to choice for Professional Chimney Sweeps since the 1980’s. The standard when it comes to a safe, working fireplace or stove. Great chimney sweep kit to use as wood stove cleaner, fireplace deodorizer, soot remover

Finally, you can also remove creosote with the fast and effective powerful formula from Chimney Saver. The formula easily destroys glazed creosote and soot in wood-burning fireplaces, chimneys, and stoves, leaving behind a healthy fireplace that’s easy to clean.

It’s specially engineered to remove creosote in four phases. In the first phase, it neutralizes the creosote to a less corrosive and flammable form.

In the second phase, it absorbs oil and moisture from the soot and creosote. Next, it limits the formation of new creosote. Lastly, it breaks down third-degree creosote when the flue is heated.

The remover is easy to use. Simply squeeze the bottle near the flue, and the powder is then carried up the chimney and begins breaking down the creosote. Once up there, it causes creosote to turn into ash that you can sweep away with ease. Use 1/3 of the bottle for each fire.

Pros

  • Removes creosote with ease
  • Works in four defined steps
  • Reduces chimney odors
  • It’s very easy to use

Cons 

  • No mention of warranty

What is Creosote?

Creosote is a dark brown or black flammable tar-like byproduct deposited on the chimney walls, especially from wood smoke.

When creosote accumulates for an extended period, it forms creosote build-up within the chimney flue’s internal walls. Creosote build-up is hazardous. Although the material can be removed through sweeping in the early states, mature creosote often hardens, making it more difficult to remove through standard sweeping.

Once there’s accumulation, the build-up process accelerates, creating a thick layer of black mass. The dense mass can decrease the chimney’s diameter, affecting how well combustion gases are removed from the house.

Stages of Creosote Build-Up

There are three main stages of creosote build-up, with each stage always worse and more dangerous to your home than the preceding one.

  1. Level #1 Build-Up: Also known as first-degree build-up, creosote in this stage mainly exists in the form of soot. It is the lightest form of creosote and typically results from clean-burning fireplaces. Stage one creosote is very easy to clean.
  2. Level #2 Build-Up: Stage #2 creosote build-ups result from insufficient air supply to the fire or wood that is too wet. It’s much thicker than stage #2 creosote, resembles black tar-like flakes, and is harder to remove. You may need special tools to remove second-degree creosote build-up. 
  3. Level #3 Build-Up: Extremely unfavorable burning conditions cause third-degree creosote. The defining characteristic of creosote at this stage is that the material is now completely solid. Additionally, stage #3 creosote is highly flammable. 

Signs You Have Creosote Build-Up

It’s crucial to detect and remove creosote before it reaches level three build-up. Check out for the following signs;

  • Reduced draft: One of the first signs of creosote build-up is reduced updraft. If you notice that smoke is venting back into the home rather than going out via the furnace, there’s likely a creosote build-up.
  • Poorly burning fires: Another telltale sign of creosote build-up is fires that struggle to burn or produce too much smoke. It’s a sign that air flow up the chimney is impeded, most likely by creosote build-up.
  • Black soot around the fireplace: Finally, once the build-up becomes thick and heavy, the power of gravity may cause some particles to drop to the fireplace and the surrounding area. It’s another sign you may have a significant build-up.

What is a Creosote Remover?

Creosote removers work by drying up the creosote in your chimney, allowing the soot particles to fall into the firebox. This makes the next fire much safer.

Also, it makes sweeping the chimney a lot more effective as you can get rid of all the creosote particles.

Do Creosote Removers Work?

Yes, creosote removers work. The best creosote removers contain trisodium phosphate that destroys the binders holding creosote particles together.

Therefore, even the toughest creosote build-ups turn into brushable ash that can be swept with ease when exposed to removers. Creosote removers also slow down the development of new creosote masses.

Depending on the type of remover you choose, you may be required to start a fire and add the remover to the fire. The process is repeated every week for a few weeks. Some studies show that removers can eliminate up to 60% or more of chimney creosote.

Creosote Remover FAQ

How Much Creosote is Dangerous?

Level #1 creosote is acceptable. It’s also largely harmless and very easy to clean. Level #2 and #3 build-ups, however, are a risk. Level #3 creosote, in particular, is dangerous.

Does Chimney Cleaning Remove Creosote?

Yes, general chimney cleaning removes some creosote. However, it may not remove hardened level #3 creosote. You need special materials, such as creosote removers, for the thick build-ups.

How do I Get Rid of Level 3 Creosote?

With the best creosote removers! Sweeping alone cannot remove level #3 creosote as the material is usually hardened and bound to the chimney walls. Creosote removes destroy the binders holding together the creosote particles.

What is Glazed Creosote Buildup?

Glazed creosote is a type of hard creosote that forms when creosote rapidly accumulates in the flue before the previous layers (of creosote) have dried.

It forms an extremely hard and dense substance that can damage the flue, necessitating replacement. It’s also extremely flammable.

How Do You Remove Glazed Creosote?

Glazed creosote, like level #3 creosote, cannot be removed through regular sweeping. You need special chemicals, such as creosote removers.

How Do I Prevent Creosote Buildup in my Chimney?

There are several steps you can take. For instance, use only low-moisture, properly seasoned, or low-kiln wood. Secondly, ensure sufficient ventilation to provide enough air for combustion. Also, burn hotter fires and have the chimney swept at least once a year, ideally right before the heating season.

Wrap Up

Creosote can be a major nuisance in the fireplace. It forms an unsightly thick mess up the chimney and can potentially block the flue, causing heating inefficiency. Left unchecked, hardened level #3 and glazed creosote also create a substantial fire risk.

Make sure to remove any traces of the unsightly mess through regular maintenance and chimney sweeping. Also, consider using the best creosote removers to loosen existing creosote and slow down further build-up.