Are Chimney-Cleaning Logs Worth the Investment?
Everybody’s looking for quick and easy ways to do things these days. This is good in many applications, but not so good in others. Chimney-cleaning logs are advertised as an effective way to keep flammable creosote out of your chimney, not only saving you time and money but also possibly preventing a serious chimney fire.
Let’s look at these logs in a little more detail.
How creosote forms in your chimney flue
Creosote is a byproduct of smoke condensation that happens when you use your fireplace. In the first stage, creosote is a white, flakey material that’s fairly easy to remove. In its second stage, creosote becomes sticky and adheres to the walls of your chimney liner. In the third, most-dangerous, stage, creosote becomes a hardened, glazed substance and is highly combustible and difficult to remove.
What chimney-cleaning logs do
Burned at suggested intervals (usually one cleaning log for every 50 regular logs), chimney-cleaning logs help to break up early-formed creosote with a special chemical inside the wood.
When used as instructed, these logs can loosen about half of the flakey creosote in a typical flue. But when loosened, the pieces will not just disappear – rather, they’ll fall downward, possibly causing an obstruction or landing in places where the debris can’t easily be removed by hand.
Creosote also can fall right down into the roaring fire, which is never a good thing.
The idea with cleaning logs is to use them often enough so that no large amount of creosote ever accumulates. However, even if you use the logs diligently and remember exactly when to add them to your fire, another problem will still exist.
That problem is, without a visual inspection of your flue, you’ll never know precisely how much creosote is in there, and you won’t know the stage to which it has developed. Chimney cleaning logs will not dislodge heavy, stuck-on accumulations of solid, stage 3 creosote. This could be the situation in your flue, and the cleaning logs will only allow you to live under a false sense of security.
Proper chimney sweep services do what logs can’t
We’re not saying to never use chimney cleaning logs. What we are saying is to make the logs a supplement to regular, proper chimney cleaning, which is recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) each year.
Only a professional chimney sweep who is certified through the CSIA is qualified to safely and effectively remove creosote from your chimney. These technicians are experts in vent-system service and chimney safety, and they have the industry-grade tools to do the job right.
Creosote is responsible for the majority of chimney fires in the U.S. each year. Major fires can destroy an entire home. But smaller fires – which often start and extinguish without people in the home knowing they’re happening – can start a cycle of damage to your chimney liner, which opens up the chimney masonry and vulnerable materials of the home to the risk of significant damage and fire.
For this reason, your safest move is to schedule annual chimney sweep service and inspections to ensure that your chimney is as clean as it can be and ready to serve you safely and efficiently for another season.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, is standing by to help with all your chimney cleaning needs. We provide CSIA-certified chimney sweeping as well as full chimney inspections as well as chimney rebuilding and repairs. Get service that’s truly “above and beyond” by calling (781) 383-0415.