Can a Chimney Log Really Replace a Chimney Sweep?
Let’s face it — we don’t all pay as much attention to chimney maintenance as we should. After all, what you can’t see can’t hurt you, right? And, since it’s relatively difficult to see the inside of your chimney, it’s probably okay. Right? Wrong. Dead wrong.
Is Chimney Cleaning Something You Can Do Yourself?
You can buy fireplace logs that promise to clean your chimney at just about any home improvement store. They promise that, for a small price and an evening by a crackling fireplace, you can help remove tar deposits from your chimney that could cause a chimney fire.
It seems like an easy way to save some money. After all, a chimney sweep log costs $20 at the most. A actual chimney sweep costs upwards of $150. The problem is, these logs are not a replacement for an actual chimney sweep.
If you use one of the deposit-removing logs (which are formulated with a special mix of chemicals that is supposed to cause the tar to break apart and flake off over time), then yes, you will have a nice fireside glow to bask in that evening. But experts have shown, again and again, that the reduction in tar deposits is, if anything, minimal.
The Benefits Of Hiring A Qualified Professional
So, have you really saved money by using a chimney-cleaning log? Probably not. To be safe, you should still hire a chimney sweep to remove the REST of the deposits from your chimney (assuming that the log did anything), and to check your chimney structure for any damage that may need to be fixed.
Burning the log is not an acceptable alternative to having this service done to ensure the integrity of your chimney and continued safety of your fireplace use. If you do use the logs, you’re going to end up paying for both the logs AND the professional, or you might lose your home to a nasty chimney fire.
This is one time when the do-it-yourself option just doesn’t pay. Do yourself a favor and hire a chimney sweep before you light that fireplace this winter.