For many years,wood was the prime source of heating the house and continues to be so in some parts of the world. In this country, we are beginning to see many individuals returning to wood burning--using it as an alternate heat source and even occasionally as a primary heat source. Heating with wood, however, is not for everyone. It is not as simple as heating with gas, oil or electricity. It is not as convenient to use because it requires a considerable amount of labor, a large storage area for the wood, more cleaning of the home, many more safety precautions, and acceptance of fluctuating room temperatures.
With the development of efficient wood stoves and furnaces, creosote buildup in the chimney became more of a problem because the flue gas temperatures were lower due to more of the heat being put in the room rather than going up the chimney. Creosote clings firmly to the pipe and chimney walls, causing buildup of a very flammable material. When creosote deposits catch fire, the heat is very intense and can result in roof and house fires. Even if the burning creosote does not cause a fire from flying sparks or cracks in the chimney, it tends to weaken the chimney masonry or warp metal chimneys.
Holland, S. S.; Piercy, L. R.; Colliver, Donald G.; and Holmes, E. S., "Wood Burning and Creosote Buildup" (1984). Agricultural Engineering Energy Series. 5.