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.

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.

 

Certifications to Look for in a Chimney Company

If it’s time for a chimney and fireplace inspection for your home, you may be wondering what kind of chimney cleaning certification a company should have. Since this home maintenance is so critical to your safety, make sure you take some extra time to ask questions. Keep reading to learn more about the right credentials for the job.

National Chimney Sweep Guild

The first thing to check for is a company’s membership to NCSG or the National Chimney Sweep Guild. This is because, on a national level, NCSG is the only existing recognized trade association for chimney professionals. It exists to promote professionalism and accountability among chimney service companies, and chimney cleaning certification.

Membership in the NCSG is also an assurance that employees have individual memberships in CSIA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America. CSIA is the regulating body that provides certification for a chimney sweeper to become a trusted professional. Technicians are elevated from novice to pro as they become a Certified Chimney Professional™

A CCP is a chimney professional who completed the training program to learn methods that adhere to the proper industry codes and standards. This verifies they have a professional understanding of the knowledge needed to handle the job properly.

Tests

There are two exams for chimney cleaning certification. They cover safety measures, policy, and other important procedures. The first is an exam based on a coursebook entitled: “Successful Chimney Sweeping ” and “National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 211 fire codes.” The second set of questions is based on the International Residential Codes (IRC).

Validity

A CCP certification is valid for a year. While renewal is accepted with a small upfront fee, recertification is required every two years. This is necessary to update the skills and methods applied in the field.

Sub-Branches of the Chimney Professional Certification

• Certified Chimney Reliners

A CCR has completed training on methods that adhere to the updated codes and standards of professional chimney relining. They also have a commitment to a code of conduct for chimney professionals that pledges honor and integrity on the job.

• Certified Master Chimney Technician

A CMCT is a chimney professional that has achieved a total of six years of certification and a minimum of ten years of experience on the job. Having also studied what is current in the chimney sweeping business, they are considered seasoned experts at what they do. They are also committed to the code of conduct.

Reliable Chimney Services

Working with a professional you can trust makes all the difference, especially when you hire someone for an in-home service. For a company you can count on, contatc us at The Irish Sweep. Our office is available at (510) 521-4088.

The Importance of Chimney Sweeping Early in 2020

As a homeowner, it’s important to regularly schedule a chimney sweeping appointment to prevent fires. If you use your fireplace regularly, soot and creosote collect on the walls of your chimney. This is dangerous and can also reduce the efficiency of your fireplace.

Luckily, all of this can be avoided by having your chimney cleaned before the colder months arrive, and 2020 is no exception. It’s always best to hire a professional chimney sweep before the rainy weather sets in.

Here’s why hiring a chimney sweeping service is essential for every homeowner…

This Isn’t a Job to Handle by Yourself

Not only is it messy work, but in order to ensure that your chimney is really clean, it’s essential to hire a professional to get the job done right. Most homeowners don’t have the proper equipment or the expertise that’s needed to thoroughly clean their own chimney.

Chimney Fires are Extremely Common

It’s estimated that each year 70,000 house fires are caused by the buildup of soot inside chimneys. In fact, research indicates that as many as 30% of all home fires are caused by chimney soot buildup. Furthermore, these fires can cause costly damage to homes. In fact, chimney-related fires cause an estimated $1.3 billion in damage every year.

The Efficiency of Your Fireplace Will Increase

Creosote and soot buildup reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the fire in your fireplace, causing it to burn at a lower temperature. There can be a substantial difference in heating efficiency after your chimney is cleaned.

Buildup Can Become Costly

In some cases, dust, soot, and debris can build up in your chimney to the point where the walls become damaged. Left long enough, it may require costly repairs to restore your chimney.

It Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide in your home can be deadly, and having a chimney that’s partially clogged can increase this risk. Furthermore, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often go unnoticed. But fortunately, having your chimney cleaned can greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to this silent killer.

Chimney Sweeping With Us

At The Irish Sweep, we’re here to help with any masonry repairs, fireplace insert installation, chimney cleaning, and/or dryer vent cleaning. We offer our services to Bay Area customers to ensure their health and safety. Schedule an appointment online, or contact us at (510) 521-4088.

How Long Does a Chimney Sweep Take?

If you’re ready to have your chimney cleaned, you might wonder what to expect and how long the process will take. The short answer is that a chimney sweep typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Technicians spend some time setting up equipment, like laying drop cloths to protect your living space from soot and chimney debris. There’s also packing up at the end to thoroughly clean up all resulting debris. Because of this, the total service time may exceed an hour. Although, you shouldn’t need to schedule more than two hours for your entire service, from start to finish.

Here’s a more thorough look at what to expect…

CAP OR NO CAP

The total time expenditure of your chimney service will depend on a few outside factors. We recommend your chimney has a cap that covers the opening. This prevents outside debris from coming in. It also keeps animals from making homes or becoming trapped inside. So, if your chimney has a cap, the chimney sweep process will likely take less time. Chimneys without a cap may have extra debris that needs to be removed.

BUILDUP

Another factor impacting the amount of time a chimney service takes is buildup. Creosote is a tar buildup present in the chimney. Because it’s a byproduct of wood burning, some residue is left inside the chimney after every fire. Over time, it creates a thick layer of black tar. Since creosote is flammable, it’s important to have this buildup removed periodically by a chimney technician.

This is one of the reasons why a regular chimney sweep service is so important. If it’s been a while since the chimney was cleaned, there will be more creosote and the service might take longer. Generally, chimneys that are regularly serviced can be swept more quickly.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A CHIMNEY SWEEP

Your chimney sweep technician will likely clean your chimney with a long wire brush that looks something like a large bottlebrush. The bristles of the brush sweep debris from inside the chimney and down the flue, cleaning the inside surface area. Accumulated debris gather in the fireplace area to be removed.

CHIMNEY SWEEP SERVICES

Regular chimney cleaning is an important safety measure, a central part of home maintenance, and can be done quickly and cleanly. Now that you know what to expect, contact a representative at The Irish Sweep to set up your chimney cleaning service today. Contact our office at (510) 521-4088.