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Basking in the warmth of a fire on a winter evening while sitting on your favorite chair and sipping on your favorite winter beverage sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? However, maintaining that fireplace and chimney isn’t an easy task. This is something that those of us who have wood-burning fireplaces or wood fire stoves are more than aware of.
One of the many reasons homeowners hire professional chimney sweeps is to clean the chimney of the creosote buildup as a result of burning wood. However, creosote sweeping logs, or fireplace cleaning logs, as they are called, claim to be able to do just that: clear the creosote in the chimneys.
But do these chimney sweeping logs actually work? And does that mean you no longer need to hire a professional chimney sweep? We’re going to answer these and other questions about fireplace cleaning logs and their role in chimney maintenance.
Creosote is a hard and filmy residue that coats the inside of your chimney, especially on your fireplace flues. This is made up of organic compounds and forms as a result of burning wood fires.
While a large amount of creosote is present in the smoke that leaves the fireplace, some of it coats the insides of your chimneys every time you light a wood fire. And this build-up over time can be a fire hazard.
The material is flammable in nature and left unattended, it can cause a chimney fire. In addition to that, they also ruin the visual appeal of the fireplace. This is why the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that you get an annual chimney inspection by a certified chimney sweep without fail.
Do fireplace cleaning logs work?
One of the problems with creosote deposits is that the material is very gunky and sticky in nature. This makes removing it from your chimney walls a very hard work.
However, the manufacturers of fireplace cleaning logs claim that just burning one of these logs which costs approximately $15 will remove the material from your fireplace.
Fireplace burning logs are known by many other names, such as fireplace logs, creosote chimney logs, and chimney sweeping logs. These logs are designed to loosen the creosote and the soot built up in your chimney flues and fireplace while breaking down the tar, thus significantly reducing the risk of chimney fires.
How to use these logs
While chimney sweeping logs do work, using them the correct way is what will give you the best results. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your cleaning logs.
First off, you will need to prepare your home for burning the log. Begin by switching off your home’s HVAC system.
Make sure the ventilation systems on top of your fireplace or stove are properly installed and functional.
Shut off all lower air intake systems and make sure your fire protection screens are properly installed.
If it has been a while since the fireplace has last been used, you may want to get your chimney inspected before you light the log up.
Using the log
Ideally, it is not advisable to set fire to the log directly, because downdrafts can push the smoke into your home instead of up the chimney.
Instead, start a fire on the stove and wait for it to die down. Then, place the log onto the embers and let those embers fire it up.
While a small fireplace does not need more than a single cleaning log, a larger one may need two. However, be sure to use them only one after the other.
If the room starts feeling too smoky, open the windows for extra ventilation.
No more chimney sweeps, right?
Well, that assumption would be extremely incorrect. And the reason is that while this widely accepted product may be an efficient creosote remover, a professional chimney sweep does a lot more than just clearing the soot and creosote build-up. They also inspect and repair the chimney cap, the flue liner, chimney flashing, the crown, your chimney’s brickwork and practically everything that has to do with your chimney’s upkeep.
The average cost of hiring a chimney sweep is between $130 and $380. Expensive repairs could cost upwards of $1,000.