Do Chimney Cleaning Logs Work?

Many homeowners in the Bay Area depend on heat from their fireplaces and wood stoves to stay warm during the rainy months. But regardless of how cozy and efficient your fireplace is, there comes a time when you have to make sure it’s properly cleaned. Bay Area chimney cleaning is an important maintenance service that helps to keep your home and family safe. But you may be questioning why you need to call a professional if you’ve seen chimney cleaning logs in the store.

So, what are chimney cleaning logs and do they work? Here’s what you need to know.

What are Chimney Cleaning Logs?

Unfortunately, homeowners often buy chimney cleaning logs believing that they will help loosen up that thick layer of dirty creosote. Creosote is the byproduct that occurs from burning wood in your fireplace. It lines the inside of your chimney. While this may seem like a quick, cheap fix that’s more convenient than a Bay Area chimney sweep, that’s just not the case. The reality is that these logs aren’t an effective option, or a safe replacement.

How They’re Supposed to Work

What may have made chimney sweeping logs more popular over the years is the supposed ease of their use. You just unwrap the log from its package and light it in the fireplace.

When these logs are lit, the smoke is supposed to rise into the chimney, loosening the creosote and causing it to fall down into the fireplace. In theory, you can then remove the buildup. The general idea is that it should be a simple, tidy process, so you won’t need to spend the whole day scraping the inside of your chimney.

Related Content: How Long Does a Chimney Sweep Take?

The Reality

The bad news? Chimney sweeping logs can create an even bigger mess than you started out with. Often, chimneys aren’t designed with perfectly straight flues. What this means is that you can actually end up with trapped creosote in the bends of your fireplace’s flue.

The Risk of Fire

It’s important to note that creosote is highly flammable, so you can imagine the dilemma these homeowners find themselves in. Not only do they run the risk of a chimney fires, but blockages are also a problem. Further, a chimney that can’t properly vent gas and smoke is a hazard to your health as well.  If it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Safety, of course, is a top priority for homeowners. Not only is your house a huge financial investment, but we all want to feel safe in our homes. In fact, that’s the number one reason why it’s so important to schedule Bay Area chimney cleaning services. Burning these logs can also create fumes that you can’t avoid breathing.

The Mess

When you hire a Bay Area chimney cleaner, you don’t need to worry about a mess. This is because they take special precautions to protect your carpets and furniture. On the other hand, if you attempt to DIY your chimney sweep, you will most likely end up with soot, ash, and creosote all over your house, and yourself.

Related Content: Is it a Risky Idea to DIY Chimney Sweep?

Hiring a Chimney Cleaner is the Best Solution

It’s clear to see that professional chimney cleaners provide essential services. Here’s a little more information on what they have to offer homeowners…

1) Chimney Inspection

If you’re a new homeowner, you may not realize it’s important to have your chimney inspected from time to time. This is even true if you rarely use your fireplace. Scheduling regular chimney and fireplace maintenance can help you save money on repair costs because it’s best to correct minor issues before they become a problem. A pro can inspect your chimney for things like water damage and nesting animals.

2) Effective Cleaning

Since we’ve learned that chimney cleaning logs are no substitute for professional services, it’s a good idea to schedule your appointment every six months to be on the safe side. Hiring a Bay Area chimney cleaner will guarantee that all the flammable buildup is removed from your chimney. Your house won’t be covered in soot. And, it will be safe to use your fireplace all year long.

3) Reduce Repair Costs

Again, chimney sweeping is also the best way to reduce the need for costly chimney repairs. There could be structural issues with your fireplace or chimney that you’re completely unaware of. It’s important to check for seismic and structural safety, especially in California due to the likelihood of earthquakes. All in all, regular chimney maintenance can provide you with greater peace of mind.

The Takeaway

Even if you are able to remove some buildup from your chimney with commercial creosote logs, it’s just not worth the risk they pose to your home or your family.

When you hire a licensed chimney cleaner, you won’t need to worry if there’s any flammable material left inside your chimney. Peace of mind is money well spent. In fact, it’s priceless.

Schedule an Appointment Today

We hope you found this blog post helpful and learned something new along the way. Part of our mission is to educate Bay Area residents in order to reduce the fire risk in our communities. We also adhere to national standards, such as the National Fire Protection Association. Chimney cleaning is actually considered an essential service, and you can rest assured that your safety is our top priority. Special precautions are being taken during the pandemic to protect the health of our customers as well as our team.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Questions are always welcome. You can call our office at (510) 521-4088, or feel free to fill out a contact form by clicking this link.

How to Spot Water Chimney Water Damage

Did you know that rain can cause crucial damage to your chimney? Erosion is a natural process that happens over time, even to the structures on our houses, not to mention that mortar, the substance that bonds the bricks together in a chimney, is water soluble. If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably wondering how to tell if your chimney has already been affected by water. If so, here are some common ways that rain can cause chimney water damage.

Cracked Masonry

If you have a leak in your fireplace, it may be due to a crack in your chimney’s masonry. It’s important to have this taken care of as soon as possible, otherwise the issue can become worse. When masonry cracks aren’t taken care of, chimney repairs only become more expensive. Similarly, cracks in the chimney crown allow rainwater to leak into the flue lining.

Damaged Chimney Flue

Chimneys look strong, so it’s easy to forget they need maintenance just like the rest of your home. It’s important to schedule regular inspections in order to spot things like chimney water damage. Because the flue is on the inside of your chimney, it’s probably not something you’d ever notice on your own until it became a real issue. One sign there’s a problem is if thin tile shards begin to drop from the flue. As mortar joints age and deteriorate, they can allow moisture to seep into the chimney structure.

Rust or Moss

Rust is another red flag that chimney repairs are needed. Take note if you spot rust forming on the fireplace doors, the damper, or other accessories.

Or, is moss growing on the masonry? This can be another indication of chimney water damage. Moss will trap water and speed up the process of degradation.

Warped Flooring

Watch out for warped flooring and baseboards in the area surrounding your fireplace. In most cases, this is a clear sign of chimney water damage. Additionally, homeowners should look for efflorescence, a white, powdery mineral deposit that is left after water evaporates.

Other Water Sources

Other water sources are downspouts that terminate at the base of the chimney (or uphill of the chimney), as well as gutters that haven’t been  properly cleaned, or that are canted in the wrong direction. This allows roof water to flow into the chimney. On a rainy day, every homeowner should go outside and look at the flow of water in order to see where the moisture travels.

Schedule Today

To schedule an appointment with The Irish Sweep, call us at (510) 521-4088, or use this simple contact form by clicking here. Your safety is our number one priority. That’s why our team is taking special precautions during this time. We look forward to hearing from you.

Is it a Risky Idea to DIY Chimney Sweep?

Have you been Googling how to sweep a chimney? We all like to save money now and then by “DIYing” something, but there are a few things that you definitely shouldn’t try to handle on your own. Among these are dealing with a termite infestation, removing pipes from your walls, and, yes, cleaning your chimney. So, why shouldn’t you DIY chimney cleaning? There are a few reasons.

It’s Not an Easy Job

To begin with, chimneys are oddly shaped. Professionals use special tools and equipment to properly clean the inside of your chimney. This includes brushes and vacuums that were designed for the job. They also use certain chemicals that do an excellent job of clearing away soot and creosote. People who attempt to do their own chimney sweeping also tend to push soot into their homes, which just causes more problems, not to mention the mess.

If you’ve been wondering how to sweep a chimney, know that there’s a reason this profession has been around for so long. It requires training and knowledge to be done properly. Professionals have the experience needed to get the job done right.

It’s Messy

Pros know the most effective methods to clean your fireplace and chimney, with the least amount of mess. If you try to DIY chimney sweep, you’re very likely to end up with soot and creosote all over your carpet and furniture.

You might be wondering if a chimney sweep needs to go on the roof. In most cases, the answer is no. Special equipment allows them to do almost every cleaning and inspection from in front of the fireplace. With training and experience, professional chimney sweeps are skilled experts who know how to keep your home tidy. They also observe proper safety protocols, such as wearing respirator masks and eye protection.

Fire Risks

Did you know that a buildup of soot and creosote can cause chimney fires? Cleaning a chimney is a thorough job that requires expert attention. Additionally, the pros know how to look for structural issues. Cracked flues or damaged dampers can lead to a whole slew of problems. It’s better to catch these issues before they lead to expensive repairs. Fortunately, professional chimney sweeps know everything about the anatomy of a chimney, as well as the telltale signs to look for when it comes to potentially dangerous structural issues.

The good news is that you really only need to schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection once a year. Make sure to plan your fireplace and chimney cleaning in advance, so you can cross it off your list before the holidays. It’s an important maintenance task that is likely to save you money in the long run.

Alameda Chimney Sweep

DIY home projects can be fun and they’re often a good idea, but chimney sweeping isn’t one of them. If you need reliable service in the Alameda area, contact us at The Irish Sweep. We have the experience you need. Call our office at (510) 521-4088, or read more about us by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chimney Cleaning

Fireplace chimney cleaning is an important maintenance task in order to ensure your chimney is clean, safe, and functioning at its best. Scheduling your appointment early in the season prepares your home for the cold months ahead and gets it out of the way, so you can focus on the holidays with your loved ones. But if you’re wondering what fireplace chimney cleaning entails, here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Why does a chimney need cleaning?

One of the reasons a chimney needs to be cleaned regularly is that burning wood produces a combustible product called creosote. This buildup of creosote poses a fire risk for your home.

How often should my chimney be cleaned?

According to national standards, a chimney should be cleaned at least once a year, even if you don’t use your fireplace often. For peace of mind, it’s best to have it checked annually.

How long does it take to clean the chimney?

There are certain things that can cause a fireplace chimney cleaning to take longer. For instance, damage to the flue, the presence of nests, or a heavy layer of creosote. The time it takes depends on the inspection. But, in general, expect a technician to be on the job for about an hour.

Will there be a mess in my house?

A professional chimney company will take special precautions when they’re in your home. It’s helpful if you move furniture or personal items away from the fireplace, but a pro will bring their own tools and materials to protect your living space.

What do chimney sweeps do?

An experienced chimney sweep will check the condition of your fireplace and chimney. This includes things like the condition of the flue, and whether or not there are any nests. Your chimney will be inspected for buildup, structural damage, or any interior obstructions, and also cleaned.

Should I worry about carbon monoxide poisoning?

As you probably already know, carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is especially dangerous because it’s odorless. It’s always a good idea to keep a carbon monoxide detector in your home. This safety hazard can be caused by poor ventilation due to a clogged chimney that isn’t properly expelling toxic fumes.

Is it still necessary to clean the chimney if I use Duraflame Logs?

Even if you only use packaged wood products, the chimney still has to be cleaned. This is because creosote is still being created.

My fireplace contains a set of artificial gas logs. Does my chimney need cleaning?

Due to flame impingement, carbon builds up on the artificial logs, and that carbon is also spread into the smoke chamber, as well as the chimney. This carbon deposit is flammable and should be removed in order to prevent a chimney fire.

When is a good time to clean the chimney?

It’s best to schedule fireplace and chimney cleaning before the winter cold sets in. We recommend cleaning your chimney before the busy holiday season.

Fireplace Chimney Cleaning

To schedule your annual fireplace and chimney cleaning, contact us at The Irish Sweep. Our experienced team is available to answer all of your questions. Give us a call at (510) 521-4088, or fill out this quick contact form.

 

How to Plan for Chimney Safety During COVID-19

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will continue to be an ongoing health issue for some time to come. Yet life continues, fireplace-related issues included. With restrictions on how and when service professionals can work in homes and businesses, it’s important to make chimney and fireplace safety plans both while stay-at-home orders persist, and after reopening is complete. Read on to learn how you can be proactive about fireplace safety in your home.

Inspect your Fireplace and Chimney

Fireplace safety requires yearly on-site inspections. Animals can take up residence inside of a chimney, structural materials can break down or shift into hazardous positions, and creosote buildup can result in an uncontrollable fire that goes unnoticed until it spreads through your home. It’s important to take the time to inspect your fireplace and chimney. If the system hasn’t been inspected in the last year, wait to use it until seeking guidance from a professional.

Call an Expert for Assistance

In California, officials have agreed to permit some limited home and business service emergency calls. The best course of action is to contact a qualified professional for guidance related to chimney and fireplace safety inspections, cleaning, and upkeep as soon as you detect a problem.

Remote advice and instruction are available for many common fireplace safety issues. If you’re dealing with animals or nesting insects, please don’t try to smoke them out. Call your local Wildlife Control for help.

Create a Checklist for Future On-Site Appointments

Professional fireplace and chimney services require a technician to work within a confined space. Before you schedule an appointment, confirm that the company has a solid plan in place for limiting the risk of coronavirus.

Anyone visiting your home should perform a virus symptoms review prior to arrival, and wear appropriate protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask. During the appointment, the CDC recommends maintaining a personal distance of at least six feet

We go the Extra Mile

The Irish Sweep goes the extra mile to protect customers from risks related to common fireplace and chimney issues. We’re also taking additional health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on the steps we’re taking to prepare for future on-site appointments, contact us at (510) 521-4088.

HEAT REFLECTORS AND FIREBACKS

Did you know that there are products that actually maximize useful heat from gas and wood fires, while reducing the amount of fuel needed to heat your home with fire? Many don’t know about heat reflectors for the fireplace, so they accept the efficiency they’re accustomed to. Yet fireplace heat reflectors are a great investment! They not only maximize heat reflected into the home, but they also protect your firebox from any potential heat damage.

If you have a brick and mortar fireplace, it’s susceptible due to the constant cooling and heating from fires. Because of this, fireplaces will crack and shrink over time. Using a fireplace heat reflector or “fireback” will decrease how much heat is absorbed by the back wall of the fireplace, translating to less damage in the long run.

HOW TO INSTALL A HEAT REFLECTOR

Installing a heat reflector is fairly easy, and many chimney care companies will do it for you. You’ll want to first measure the back of the wall of the fireplace in inches, and measure the grate where logs rest. A heat reflector is made using a non-combustible metal and features feet that allow it to stand. Measuring your wall will ensure that the grate will either fit in front of or slightly under the reflector.

Once you have the measurements, you know what size heat reflector to get. At home, remove the fire grate and place the reflector at the back of the clean firebox. Do make sure to read the directions that came with the reflector. You’ll want to make sure that the reflector is upright and that it’s stable. When that looks right, replace the fireplace grate and then use your fireplace as normal. You’ll find yourself with a noticeably cozier fire.

Sometimes low tech solutions reap great benefits. If you haven’t invested in a heat reflecting fireback yet, ask us about them at the Irish Sweep.0