Débistrage is the French word referring exclusively to the mechanical removal of tar and/or creosote. By using a variety specialist equipment such as wire whips and in some cases chains, attached to our rotary power sweeping equipment, we are able to remove tougher deposits and build ups, alleviating the fire risk these compounds provide. 

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When is a Débistrage required

Stubborn tar deposits

A débistrage may be necessary in a multitude of scenarios. Firstly, if a build up of tar has occurred in your chimney, it must be removed due to how flammable it is. Should stubborn tar deposits still remain in the chimney following having your chimney swept, a débistrage can be a perfect solution to the problem.

Installing an appliance

If a liner is being installed into a previously used chimney, it is vital that the chimney first goes through a débistrage to remove all flammable deposits. Once the liner has been installed with an appliance, future sweeping will commence only in the liner, meaning if any flammable deposits are left in the chimney following the installation, these will be sealed away and will be impossible to clean without removing the liner that’s being installed.

Although future exhaust gasses will be contained in the steel liner, the liner itself will become incredibly hot, which means; If any ancient tar or creosote deposits are left in the previously used chimney, they could catch alight and cause damage to your property.

A liner should never be installed in a chimney that has not had previous deposits removed. We recommend having any installation work done by a chimney professional who will be certain to understand the importance of a débistrage and will either carry it out themselves, or have a fellow chimey professional undertake the work.


In the event that a tar build up has occurred in a liner or in a chimney which is structurally uncertain, a débistrage may not be an appropriate solution as it risks causing damage to stainless steel liners and any existing chimney which is not in perfect condition. Other solutions such as Chemical Tar Removal Treatments may be  more appropriate. Your Chimney Sweep will be able to assess your situation and determine which is the best solution for you.