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A creosote sweeping log can’t replace a professional chimney cleaning

You’ve noticed them stacked on shelves at the hardware store or advertised on TV: Logs that promise to help remove dangerous creosote chimney just by placing them in your fireplace or wood stove and lighting them. Perhaps you’ve even been tempted by so-called creosote sweeping logs. They’re cheaper and more convenient than a certified chimney sweep. But in reality, creosote sweeping logs are no replacement for an annual cleaning and inspection by a certified chimney sweep.

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What is creosote?

Creosote is a tar-like substance that builds up on your chimney walls every time you burn a fire. Extremely combustible at high temperatures, creosote can lead to dangerous chimney fires. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends an annual chimney cleaning and inspection by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to remove creosote and protect against chimney fires.
How do creosote sweeping logs work?

Creosote sweeping logs go into your wood-burning fireplace or wood stove. They are either lit on their own or burned in addition to an existing fire. As the fire burns, the log lets of chemicals that react with the creosote to break it up. The creosote flakes off the walls of the chimney and falls back into the fireplace for removal.Over the course of 15 days, the logs are claimed to remove 60 percent of creosote buildup in a chimney.

Why can’t creosote sweeping logs replace a professional sweeping and inspection?

While some chemical creosote sweeping logs do carry the CSIA-approval label, the CSIA maintains that creosote sweeping logs cannot replace an annual chimney cleaning and inspection to keep your home safe from a chimney fire or carbon-monoxide intrusion from your fireplace.

First and foremost, creosote sweeping logs only reduce creosote buildup; they do not eliminate buildup. After burning a creosote sweeping log, creosote flakes off the vertical walls of the chimney and are meant to fall back into the firebox for removal. However, many chimneys are not straight vertical structures, meaning the ash could fall on a horizontal chimney element, rather than falling to the fireplace or stove floor for easy removal.

And while a creosote sweeping log may help to clean your chimney, it cannot provide the thorough inspection a certified sweep would. Your CSIA-certified chimney sweep visually inspects your chimney to make sure it is free from creosote buildup or other potential obstructions, such as animal nests. A chimney sweep also looks for chimney damage or potential failures so you can address any chimney problems that would present a potential hazard.

Make sure your chimney maintenance includes a professional sweeping

The CSIA does allow that creosote sweeping logs can provide some level of chimney maintenance. However, the only way you can be sure that your chimney is unobstructed and free from damage is to have it swept and inspected by a certified technician. Call the professionals at Guaranteed Chimney Services today to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.

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