Creosote cleaning logs seem like a simple solution to creosote, a chemical produced by burning wood which can cause a fire to start in your chimney flue and spread to your home. Creosote buildup in a chimney has serious consequences and a fireplace cleaning log sounds like a great idea. In reality these fireplace cleaning logs do work but they are meant to make cleaning a fireplace manually easier and do not replace cleaning by a chimney sweep.
Creosote is a tar-like byproduct from wood burning that accumulates in your chimney. Creosote is extremely flammable and responsible for many house fires. If you look into your fireplace and chimney and see a black shiny substance it is probably creosote - have the fireplace cleaned for safety before use.
Do Fireplace Cleaning Logs Eliminate Creosote?
They will to a minor extent if there is minimal creosote in the chimney. They do this by utilizing a chemical reaction. The cleaning log contains chemicals that are released upon burning that change the tar-like buildup in the chimney to a flakey substance. This flakey residue can be easily cleaned, by a sweep, unlike the gummy creosote. So the cleaning logs don’t necessarily remove creosote, but they make it easier for a sweep to remove it.
Have your wood-burning fireplaces cleaned and serviced yearly. Chimney sweeps recommend burning a creosote cleaning log in the fireplace BEFORE having them at the house to perform a cleaning. Follow the directions on the box, normally you light the log and burn just like regular firewood.
Tom Schlotter, licensed home inspector.