Our Company Blog

The Dangers of Chimney Sweeping Logs

When it comes to chimney maintenance, many homeowners are on the lookout for fast and easy fixes. One popular product on the market today that promises to clean your chimney is chimney sweeping logs. For about $20 these products seem like a fast, cheap, and easy alternative to having your chimney swept. However, chimney sweeping logs should never be used as an alternative to a professional chimney cleaning.

How chimney sweeping logs are dangerous

Chimney sweeping logs advertise themselves as an alternative to a professional chimney sweeping. As they burn, the smoke from the logs loosens creosote in the flue; as it loosens, the creosote then falls down and into the firebox where it can be easily removed.

The Dangers of Chimney Sweeping Logs - Houston TX - Lords Chimney

While this may work in theory, it often fails when put into practice. Because most chimneys do not have straight, vertical flues, the loosened creosote often winds up trapped in the bends of the flue. Accumulated creosote can cause a number of problems; first, creosote is extremely flammable. Having accumulated creosote in the bends of the flue increases the risk of chimney fire if any stray sparks and embers were to travel up the flue. Second, large amounts of fallen creosote sitting in the bends of the flue can cause chimney blockages. These types of blockages can impact venting and cause gas and smoke to flow back into your home instead of up the chimney.

Using a chimney sweeping log can also make it more difficult to clean your chimney in the future. The fallen loosen creosote can accumulate in the smoke shelf above the firebox, one of the most difficult to reach and clean areas of the chimney. Because of this, a professional chimney sweeping is often needed to undo the effects of the chimney sweeping log.

Why chimney sweeping logs can’t replace a professional chimney sweep

Chimney sweeping logs might seem like a cheap and easy alternative to a professional chimney sweeping, but they can actually do more harm than good.

“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”

Even if they can help to loosen creosote, chimney sweeping logs cannot replace the benefits of having a professional sweep and inspect your chimney. A certified chimney professional is able to identify any signs of chimney damage or deterioration during a cleaning; oftentimes, spotting problems early can help prevent serious damage – as well as expensive repairs.

While chimney sweeping logs work in theory, using one can cause serious problems within your chimney system. Instead, skip the chimney sweeping log altogether and let a professional chimney sweep keep your chimney clean – and your family safe. Contact Lords Chimney today to schedule your next chimney sweeping!

Chimney Cleaning Logs

If you walk down the aisles of your neighborhood big box home improvement store, you are bound to see a wide variety of products designed to help homeowners clean and maintain their fireplaces. While some of these products can be useful, they should not be used to replace regular annual chimney maintenance by a certified chimney sweep.

One such product that our customers regularly ask about are “chimney cleaning logs”. Sold for less than $20 at many home improvement stores, chimney sweeping logs advertise their ability to significantly reduce creosote buildup in the chimney. Because of this, some homeowners purchase and burn these products as their only form of chimney maintenance, patting themselves on the back for saving money on a chimney sweep.

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Despite their advertising claims, these logs are no replacement for a professional chimney cleaning. Although they may be able to remove some creosote buildup, there are a number of ways that they are deficient at maintaining the health and safety of your fireplace system.

Why loosening creosote is just part of the job

The primary purpose of a chimney cleaning log is the removal of creosote; the smoke from the log loosens the creosote and causes it to fall down the flue and into the firebox, where it can be safely swept up and removed.

In theory, this is an excellent system. Unfortunately, the reality leaves much to be desired.

Most flues are not a straight vertical line between your firebox and the top of the chimney. Depending on your fireplace’s location, your flue may have one of more curves and bends in it. When this happens, the loosening of creosote by the chimney cleaning log merely causes it to fall and accumulate in the bends of the flue. This may not only block the flue, but can also create a significant fire hazard. Even fireplaces without curved flues may wind up with the majority of the creosote trapped on the smoke shelf, which can be difficult to access and clean without proper training.

A chimney cleaning log is no substitute for a chimney sweep

While a chimney cleaning log may be useful in loosening creosote, it is no substitute for the services performed by a certified chimney sweep.

“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”

Likewise, a chimney cleaning log has no way to know or tell you if your chimney is damaged in any way. There are a number of hidden issues such as cracked flue liners, decaying masonry, or damaged chimney caps or crowns that can only be spotted by a sweep during a chimney inspection. Because many of these chimney issues do not affect performance, you may have no idea there is even an existing issue.

Don’t trust the health of your chimney or the safety of your family to a $20 log bought at a big box store. Instead, have an annual chimney sweeping and rest assured that you can safely use your fireplace for the rest of the year. Contact Lord’s Chimney today to schedule an appointment!