Do Chimney-Cleaning Logs Really Work?
The fact that there’s such a product as chimney-cleaning logs tells you that cleaning built-up creosote out of chimneys is an important job. Chimney-cleaning logs are burned like any other logs but have special ingredients that are said to remove creosote. Sounds easy and simple. But do the logs actually work?
Look for CSIA-approval
Just because a product calls itself a “chimney-cleaning log” doesn’t automatically mean it will do a good job. Some brands bear the inscription “CSIA Accepted Product.” CSIA stands for the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the leading agency covering chimney safety and the hearth industry in general.
If you’re going to try chimney-cleaning logs, definitely purchase those accepted by the CSIA. But you may notice some other wording from the institute on the log label that states something to the effect of: these logs are not a substitute for annual chimney inspection and cleaning.
Drawbacks to chimney-cleaning logs
Because these logs cannot replace cleaning performed by CSIA-certified chimney sweeps – technicians who make their livings cleaning chimneys and making them safe – a chimney-cleaning log set can give you a false sense of security.
No matter how much creosote can be removed by burning special logs, it’s not enough to satisfy the CSIA, which provides stringent industry certifications to technicians who have demonstrated exceptional skill and knowledge in the areas of chimney cleaning, inspection and repair.
One big problem with chimney-cleaning logs is that you can’t know exactly how well they’ve worked. Unless you can see inside your chimney, it’s impossible to know what did or didn’t happen in there after you burn cleaning logs. This means you really don’t know how much creosote may still exist inside the flue.
Another drawback is that as the burning logs dislodge creosote, the flammable substance can fall down into a roaring fire, which is like throwing lighter fluid on the flames.
If pieces of creosote don’t hit the flames, they may start stacking up on the smoke shelf just above the firebox. In this case, you still have a large amount of creosote in your chimney, only in a different place.
Trust professional chimney sweeps to clean your chimney
This article isn’t to knock makers of chimney-cleaning logs or cause them to lose business. What this article is about is safety, and ask anybody in the hearth industry, and they’ll tell you there is no substitute for hiring a professional, certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney.
Chimney sweeps not only have extensive training, but they also have specialized equipment that includes hand and power brushes, vacuums, cleaning solvents, scrapers and video devices that allow them to do many things no log set ever could.
The bottom line is this: if you feel comfortable using chimney-cleaning logs as a supplement, by all means do so. But do not use them as a substitute for annual cleaning from a certified professional.
Black Moose Chimney & Stove of Antrim, NH, is standing by to help with all your chimney sweep, chimney inspection, chimney repair and fireplace/stove installation needs. For fast, reliable service from trained experts, call (603) 525-7905.