Since the other articles were written, there is something new to add. There is a new chemical by Saver Systems called PCR (Poultice Creosote Remover) and it works really well and really fast. By fast I mean overnight. In extremely bad situations it is conceivable that it could take two applications. It is available through chimney service companies, not available to the general public.
Who is it good for? It’s good for people who have 3rd degree creosote and…
- have decided not have a stainless steel chimney liner…
- …or who want a stainless steel liner but don’t want the tiles destroyed
- want an appropriate option to relining before selling a house
- don’t mind the price tag this has (more on that shortly)
- and plan to NOT get in this condition again
Let me elaborate. You recall that I mentioned that there is likely to be creosote all over the outside of the tiles as well? This is why I favor removing the tiles and replacing them with a stainless liner. So keep in mind that as effective as PCR is, it’s only going to work on the inside of the tiles.
It’s understood that some people really don’t want to destroy the tiles, and I respect that. If a wood-stove is being vented through the fireplace flue (in a properly sized stainless liner) but you need to get the creosote out of the tile first, PCR would be a very good way to do that.
About the price. This is why you don’t want to do this as a regular thing. PCR is somewhat expensive in the first place. It requires specialized sponge applicators which are also kind of expensive and it requires two trips (or even three if the chimney is severely messed up, but usually two). PCR treatment seems to range between $450 and $700 with $5-600 being very common. It costs much more than a chimney cleaning but is something like 25% of cost to reline the chimney with stainless steel.
So PCR really is an excellent option to get out of a bad spot, but afterwards you want to make sure you don’t just do it all over again. Be sure to follow all the good advice such as burning hotter and using ACS or CreAway for maintenance.
Watch this video clip and you’ll see that PCR is pretty amazing stuff.