Tar and creosote builds up inside your chimney each time you use your fireplace. These substances are highly flammable, and increase your risk of fire dramatically. There are several “chimney sweeping logs” on the market that claim to effectively remove tar and creosote, eliminating the need for regular cleanings. However, one of these logs is not a substitute for an annual chimney cleaning… keep reading to find out why!
Manufacturers claim that chimney sweeping logs contain specially-developed minerals that reduce the amount of creosote and tar inside your chimney. Some boast that burning a single log can reduce buildup by up to 60% and that repeated use can prevent it altogether.
These claims are only partially true. The minerals in a chimney sweeping log do cause creosote and tar to fall off the interior walls of your chimney. When this happens, those substances could fall directly into your fireplace or onto your smoke shelf, which is the area right behind your damper that is almost perfectly level. Debris falling into either of these two areas increases rather than decreases your risk of fire.
In some cases, creosote inside a chimney may flake off while the chimney sweeping log is burning. These flakes are highly likely to catch fire while they are on the way out.
A chimney sweep removes buildup from all areas of your fireplace before you begin burning in it. This is the only safe method of removing tar and creosote a homeowner should consider.
Another problem with chimney sweeping logs is that they cannot make you aware of damage to your chimney or blockages such as an animal’s nest. A defective liner, cracks, mortar damage or animals nesting in your flue can all increase your risk of fire, and are easily discovered during a thorough chimney cleaning and inspection.
Chimney sweeping logs are not an effective substitute for routine cleanings, and in fact may actually do more harm than good. To ensure your family’s safety, please contact Fiddler on the Roof Chimney Service to schedule a cleaning appointment.