Chimney cleaning in winters can feel like a constant battle against the elements. To miss out on your crackling fire is to miss the joy of experiencing the homely snowfall in The Land of Steady Habits. Professionally certified chimney repair teams strongly advocate adding regular inspection and professional upkeep to your fireplace maintenance before the snowfall starts. But what do they say about “DIY chimney cleaning hacks“?
Creative Masonry and Chimney has a blog with professionally recommended ways to cut costs for chimney cleaning. Check out this post to see how to keep your flue filth-free for longer. However, aside from the professional installations and accessories, the online world has been promoting several DIY solutions to a sooty fireplace.
These range from burning potato peels to baking soda, and while they’re not at all a replacement for a trained team, they’re not useless. Chimney sweeps in Glastonbury, CT, where the winter snow is unforgiving, will attest that a clean fireplace is a safe fireplace. This is why chimney logs are starting to gain popularity.
How Do Chimney Logs Work?
For starters, these logs aren’t the same as the wood logs you use as fuel. They are also known as creosote sweeping logs or chimney sweeping logs. They’re meant to reduce creosote buildup in the flue by being burned along with your regular logs. The minerals in the logs produce smoke that acts as a drying agent for creosote, inhibiting its adherence to the flue walls.
This might reduce the threats that come with a creosote-filled fireplace, but it doesn’t do much for the soot, ash, and other things that need to be seen. The best companies that provide chimney repair provide a free level one inspection with every chimney sweep.
Inspections are important because often, it’s difficult to identify the damage as a layperson before it crosses into dangerous territory. An expert can spot and remove a hazard in no time.
What is Creosote, and Why Is It Bad?
Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, just like soot. There are either unburned or partially burned particles that can drift up into the flue and get stuck to the lining. This is why, after using a chimney, you see the black residue in the fireplace and inside the chimney. While soot has some dangers, like its flammability, creosote is a bigger threat.
Colder weather exacerbates the rate at which it’s produced. Cold air can extinguish burning particles, which would have been harmless had they been allowed to burn out. That’s why chimney sweeps in CT specifically are cautious about “hacks”.
The dangers of creosote include:
- Chimney fires
- Soot and creosote drift into the home and making nearby walls and furniture combustible
- Dangerous gases drifting back into the home
- The flue breaking from the inside
- Hardened creosote that becomes nearly impossible to remove
- A leaky chimney
Are They A Substitute For Chimney Cleaning?
Burning these creosote-clearing logs will loosen, perhaps even reduce the creosote stuck to your chimney lining. However, they don’t do much for the soot and ash, which isn’t as hazardous but needs clearing nonetheless.
Standard practice is to have your hearth professionally inspected at least once a year, largely because there are certain things that only a professional can be trusted with.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, even more so when the latter could be about your home burning down. Being regular with chimney cleaning is only an effective safety measure if done by a chimney sweep with a trained eye.
Should I Still Use Them?
The impact of logs or any measures to diminish the leavings of fire is entirely contingent on the kind of materials used in your fireplace. A professional would be able to tell you how much of a difference it would make to make logs a part of your maintenance plan.
Then again, if the goal were to reduce costs, they’d also be able to recommend a designed chimney rebuilding for CT weather.
Ultimately, the logs will not do any harm, but you’ll be booking a chimney sweep just as frequently. Therefore, instead of helping you stay safer at a lower cost, it’ll only be an additional cost to your maintenance plan.
If you handle your chimney cleaning, the logs might be a good way to make it easier. As a safety-conscious homeowner, the only thing you need to make sure of is the threat of being lulled into a false sense of security. Never tell yourself that rushing or delaying your inspection is okay because you’ve been regularly burning creosote logs.
At Creative Masonry and Chimney, certified teams of seasoned professionals will be able to handle all your chimney needs right from the point of construction. Their variety of services and installable accessories could outdo any DIY method, making it worth the cost.
If you’re interested in installing accessories for a fireplace you can count on, call (860) 225-9178.