Creosote presents an ongoing maintenance need for chimney users. What exactly is creosote? It’s a dark, tar-like residue that can build up in your chimney over time. As a byproduct of incomplete combustion, it accumulates more quickly when firewood is damp or green or when airflow is poor – however, some creosote build-up is inevitable, even when burning well-seasoned firewood and taking steps to keep your flue clean.
Because creosote is highly combustible, it’s not something you want an excess of in your chimney. Left to accumulate, it increases the risk of chimney fires, and it can also make its way into your home environment.
Creosote is unfortunately stubborn and challenging to remove due to the way it sticks to the walls of your chimney flue. This is one of the reasons having your chimney swept by a professional frequently is important.
What Are Creosote Sweeping Logs?
Creosote sweeping logs, also called chimney sweeping logs, are a product readily available in many stores for $15-$30. These burn like a regular wood log, but are sold to reduce creosote build-up. This is definitely a desirable outcome, but it leads to the next question….
Do Creosote Sweeping Logs Work?
Obviously, you don’t want to trust a job with significant safety implications to a product that won’t deliver. The answer to whether creosote sweeping logs work is: it depends on your expectations about what they’ll accomplish.
Are they effective? Kind of. This may not sound whole-hearted, but let us explain. Chimney sweeping logs do have an effect, and they won’t cause harm to your chimney system. This product works by chemically changing creosote in your fireplace flue and causing it to flake off. In this regard, yes, creosote logs work.
So why the “kind of?” Because they don’t “sweep” your chimney in the full sense of the word. While creosote will flake off, creosote and soot will not actually be eliminated – just loosened for easier removal. Thus the “kind of” – creosote logs do have an effect, they just don’t do everything necessary to have a chimney cleared and safe for use.
Are Creosote Sweeping Logs Safe?
Creosote sweeping logs are considered safe for use in your chimney, however they can be dangerous if they give you a false sense of security about the cleanliness of your chimney. Keep in mind that the loosened creosote will still need to be removed.
If your fireplace has offsets – bends or curves – loosened creosote can actually flake off and become trapped in the bends, creating the risk of blockage. Even in straight chimneys, fallen creosote can accumulate on the smoke shelf above the damper, which is not readily accessible to the homeowner. Blockages in chimneys can restrict airflow and ventilation, and are also a fire hazard, so they must be removed.
And keep in mind – creosote is not the only problematic substance that can be in your chimney. Organic debris such as twigs, leaves, and nesting materials from animals also need removal to keep your chimney ready for use, and these will not be addressed by a creosote sweeping log.
Do Creosote Logs Eliminate the Need For A Chimney Sweep?
Even if you use creosote sweeping logs, you’ll still need to have your chimney routinely swept and inspected by a professional. Why?
- Creosote logs don’t actually remove creosote and soot from the chimney system.
- A professional sweeping does more than remove creosote.
Chimney sweep technicians use specialized tools and training to access all components of your chimney system that require service. There’s really no substitute for a human touch here, especially considering having a well-swept chimney is important to the efficient and enjoyable long-term use of your fireplace or stove. A chimney sweep technician will use brushes, rods, and HEPA vacuums… but tools aside, you’ll also benefit from having trained eyes and hands ensuring the job is done thoroughly.
Additionally, a sweep technician will tend to issues beyond creosote, being sure to remove blockages created by animals or debris that’s made its way to your chimney. Also, a well qualified technician has knowledge and experience that helps them spot any damage or deterioration that could cost you substantial headaches and money in the long run if left unaddressed.
So, What’s the Final Verdict on Creosote Sweeping Logs?
So, what’s the verdict on creosote logs? In short, they can be useful in helping you maintain a cleaner chimney between professional sweepings. They do help loosen creosote, making it easier to remove. However, they should never be used as a substitute for having a certified chimney sweep technician give your chimney system the TLC it deserves.
As a homeowner, you want to keep your chimney system healthy and clear. You can support that goal by burning only well seasoned dry firewood and perhaps the occasional creosote sweeping log. But don’t neglect picking up the phone to make an appointment for your annual chimney inspection, regardless of how much or little you’ve used your fireplace in the year prior or how many creosote sweeping logs you’ve burned.
Give Our Pros a Call
If it’s time for your inspection and chimney sweeping, give our pros a call at 434-481-3796 today to get scheduled. We’ll put our skill and experience to work for you, making sure your system is in good working order and leaving your chimney clear and ready for continued use. Or, you can book online – either way, we’d be happy to get in touch!