There are a number of products on the market designed to help you stay on top of chimney care and cleaning these days. One of these products is creosote sweeping logs.
Creosote sweeping logs advertise their ability to keep your chimney cleaner by (as the name suggests) targeting the tarry, combustible creosote that accumulates in your chimney flue as a byproduct of burning wood. This product is designed to work chemically, causing creosote in your chimney to flake off and fall when reached by the smoke put off from burning the log.
Since regularly having any built-up creosote removed is important for health and safety reasons, using creosote sweeping logs might seem like a simple solution. But don’t reach for that creosote log just yet – first weigh and manage your expectations of what this product will deliver. Then, make sure you’re taking a fully-orbed approach to chimney maintenance that’s adequate for your system’s needs.
Do Creosote Sweeping Logs Actually Clean the Chimney?
If you’re expecting a creosote sweeping log to clean your chimney for you, prepare to be disappointed. Creosote logs don’t reduce the amount of creosote in your chimney system – they just loosen it, potentially making it easier to remove.
And while creosote is one of the main substances being tackled in chimney sweeping, keep in mind that other things can make their way into your chimney as well – leaves, twigs, animal leavings, and other miscellaneous debris – and these thing will not be managed through the use of chimney sweeping logs.
That said, creosote sweeping logs can be useful in helping maintain your chimney’s cleanliness between professional sweeping and inspections, and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) lists them as an accepted product, as long as they are used according to manufacturer instructions and aren’t considered a replacement for regular sweepings and inspections.
Some Cautions to Keep in Mind
Having a clear, unobstructed chimney is important for airflow. Chimney blockages can make it difficult to vent smoke and gases, increasing the risk that they’ll be pushed back into your living space. Blockages can also become fire hazards. Some areas of a chimney are hard for the average homeowner to see or access, yet it’s imperative that these areas remain clear.
While creosote sweeping logs are safe to use in your fireplace, there’s no guarantee that flaked creosote that results from using them will make it all the way down your flue. Creosote particulates can become trapped on the smoke shelf, putting it out of sight and out of mind… but not necessarily out of harm’s way. Similarly, if your chimney has bends in it (which is frequently the case to accommodate the placement of a fireplace in a room), loosened creosote can amass in the bends of the flue, becoming problematic.
What Can A Professional Sweep Technician Add?
A trained, certified chimney sweep will actually eliminate creosote and soot from your chimney system during a chimney sweeping. A sweep will use tools appropriate to the task, such as rods, brushes, and HEPA vacuums, to carefully remove these byproducts so that your chimney remains ready to use. Creosote is sticky and can be a challenge to remove, but a professional has the right skill set and tools to do the job thoroughly.
The benefits of hiring a qualified professional extend beyond creosote removal. Your sweep technician will remove any other physical obstructions, and is also able to identify early signs of cracking, leaks, damage, or deterioration before these become serious issues. Like many home maintenance issues, staying on top of chimney care will save you money (and stress) in the long run – it’s easier and less costly to manage small, routine issues proactively than to let problems grow unchecked and often out of your line of sight. This is one area in which human expertise and a human touch is irreplaceable.
Questions? Give Us a Call
Typically priced at under $30, a creosote sweeping log is a relatively inexpensive product. But if used as a substitute for annual inspections and regular professional sweepings, the cost can become much higher. You rely on your chimney professional’s trained eye and practical knowledge to keep your system functioning smoothly and optimally.
So feel free to add creosote sweeping logs to your chimney care routine if you find them useful. They’re a chemical cleaner which will in fact cause creosote to loosen and flake. But be diligent about following up: sweep up any creosote flakes that result from using creosote logs quickly, and don’t neglect the issues that you may not be seeing. Trust a qualified pro to partner with you in managing your chimney system.
Book Your Next Appointment Today
If you need to get your chimney sweeping or inspection on the calendar, we’d be happy to talk to you about our services. Our CSIA certified sweeps can help with many chimney needs, from inspections to installations to repairs and more.
Call 919-747-1859 or reach out online now to get started.