Chimney Cleaning Fallacies – What NOT To Do!

So, you yourself or someone you know wants to avoid having a chimney professionally “sweeped”? Yes, there ARE a few correct things you can do to clean out your own chimney yourself… but here are a few things that you want to stay away from…

1) I use chimney sweeping logs, salt or other chemical means to keep soot from building up in my chimney, so it doesn’t need sweeping.

These products “can” reduce the buildup of creosote but do not remove everything, and can actually cause massive “sheets” of creosote to loosen and fall on to your smoke shelf, piling up and most likely causing a chimney fire! If you look at the directions for any creosote destroying log or chemical, it clearly states that it does NOT replace professional chimney cleaning. And never use a chimney sweeping log in your wood burning stove, as you may cause irreversible damage to your stove.

2) A good chimney fire once or twice a year is all the chimney cleaning it needs.

Yes, a chimney fire does burn up the creosote in the chimney, because that is its fuel… But, it can also crack the flue and allow the fire to spread through the walls of your home, and/or sparks from the fire can even catch your roof on fire. At that point, it’s pretty much out of reach from controlling.

3) I burn hardwoods only, so it burns clean always.

Well, nothing really burns “clean”. Some things may burn cleaner than others, and may reduce the need for frequent sweepings, but if it burns, it’s a sure bet that it is carbon based… and if it is carbon based, it does not ever burn completely and perfectly. To properly season (dry) wood it must be cut, split and stacked for 1-2 years. The best way to purchase firewood is to buy next year’s supply this year, stack it, cover it and leave it alone.

4) I clean my own chimney.

You can do your best… but safety and construction experts believe that chimneys should be cleaned by professionals with experience, using the proper tools. We have removed sticks, rods and brushes from chimneys that some homeowners have used to clear blockages. You don’t want any of that stuck in there.

5) The best time to clean my chimney is in the fall.

Actually the best/optimal time is in the spring, when you are done using it. Soot has corrosive properties. Any corrosive properties are going to eat away at your chimney, in the summer when it gets humid it will have a pretty nasty smell, and then when you need your heating system you may have to wait to get a proper chimney cleaning. It may not be as busy in the spring, so you don’t have to wait as long for an appointment… and if the fireplace/chimney inspection does uncover a problem, you have plenty of time to fix it before you need to use it again. It is especially important to clean pellet systems annually and preferably in the spring, as leftover pellets can swell and burst from summer humidity and actually shorten the life of your appliance.

For any other questions or concerns… just give us a call: 817-791-4606