Clearing up 5 Chimney Cleaning Myths
There’s a lot of good information out there about chimneys and how they work and how to keep them clean and safe. There are also quite a few myths circulating, especially in the area of chimney cleaning. We thought we’d expose five of these myths and give you the facts.
MYTH #1: If you use chimney cleaning logs, you don’t need to hire a chimney sweep
There’s no telling how many chimney fires this myth has led to. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America – the nation’s foremost authority on everything-chimney – chemical-treated chimney cleaning logs are okay for supplemental chimney maintenance, but that’s it.
The CSIA plainly states that cleaning logs are no substitute for annual visits from a certified chimney sweep, who has the tools and experience to clean chimneys properly and safely.
MYTH #2: You can use a tree branch to clean your chimney if you work hard at it
No matter how hard you work, no tree branch is going to remove stubborn buildups of sticky or solid creosote from your flue. This myth likely started because it was assumed that any rough-edged implement was enough to dislodge creosote.
This is not the case. Professional chimney sweeps use rotating scrubbers and rods, special chimney sweep brushes, industrial cleaning solvents and more to effectively remove standing creosote. There’s never been a licensed chimney sweep yet who carries around a tree in the service truck.
MYTH #3: Chimney inspections aren’t needed if you rarely/never use your chimney
While it’s true that no chimney use will equal no new creosote buildup, chimneys need an inspection for
many other reasons.
Old age, weather events, seismic occurrences, and other things can all affect a chimney and its components. Bricks can become damaged, mortar crumble, the chimney footing can be faulty and cause the chimney to lean. All this points to the need for an annual safety inspection of your chimney.
MYTH #4: Metal chimney liners don’t need to be inspected
It’s hard to figure out where this myth came from. Maybe the idea was that because metal is strong, all you have to do is install it and forget about it.
Stainless steel chimney liners will hold up for a long time, but eventually they will suffer damage – damage you can’t see with the naked eye. Only a proper chimney inspection can detect chimney liner issues.
MYTH #5: Pine logs increase creosote buildup
This myth is both true and untrue. Burning pine logs incorrectly definitely will make more smoke, which is where creosote comes from. In fact, burning any wood incorrectly will cause this problem.
Softwoods (like pine, spruce and juniper) and hardwoods (like walnut, oak and maple) all need to be fully dried, or seasoned, and burned at high temperatures to create less smoke. Tests have shown that pine and other softwoods are perfectly fine for your fireplace as long as they’re dry and combust completely during a fire.
These are just five of the many myths that lead homeowners astray when it comes to chimney cleaning and maintenance. Fortunately, you don’t have to know all the myths to keep your chimney and fireplace running efficiently and safely.
You simply have to work with a licensed, CSIA-certified chimney technician once a year to have your chimney system inspected and cleaned.
Magic Mountain Chimney Sweeps of Frederick, MD, is ready to help with all your chimney cleaning, chimney repairs and chimney inspection needs. We’ll do it right, so you can forget about all the myths. Call us today at (301) 695-6991.