Hire a Chimney Sweep or Buy a Chimney Sweeping Log?

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A lot of people ask me about the chimney sweeping log, and my answer is usually the same: Don’t let an inanimate object take the place of a real chimney inspection and cleaning. This may sound like I’m gunning for your business, or trying to keep my job instead of being pushed out by a log. I assure you, I’m not that desperate for work, and I’m definitely not going to tell you that you need a cleaning when you don’t. Let’s take a closer look at a chimney sweeping log (CSL) vs. a certified chimney sweep.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has approved the CSL as an accepted product for cleaning a chimney. The institute does stipulate that the product is accepted, “when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.” So make sure you always follow the instructions. 

The CSIA also warns that the CSL should not take the place of an inspection and professional cleaning by a certified chimney sweep. A CSL cannot tell you if you have a blockage, significant creosote buildup, or structural instability in your chimney or flue. Only an inspection by a certified chimney sweep can reveal that information.

Choosing whether CSLs are the right choice is entirely up to you. You know how often your fireplace is used, and whether something such as this would benefit you. Please don’t look at them as a way to save money on your yearly inspection and cleaning, consider them another step toward maintaining your chimney, flue, and fireplace.

The Bottom Line

I’m not completely against the idea of homeowners taking some of the cleaning and maintenance upon themselves. I think it’s a good thing that you want to do your part in chimney and flue maintenance. People who use their chimney on a daily basis may benefit greatly from using CSLs as directed by the manufacturer. 

In addition to CSL use, please follow the CSIA’s other guidelines and have your chimney and flue inspected once per year. According to the CSIA, three things are absolutely necessary to ensure a properly functional chimney:

1. A complete chimney inspection by a qualified professional;

2. Performance of necessary chimney repairs by a qualified professional; and

3. The mechanical sweeping of the chimney and removal of creosote and other potentially hazardous material by a professional chimney sweep.

*Please visit the CSIA website at CSIA.org to verify this information if you like.

What are your thoughts about using chimney sweep logs? Would you consider using them as an alternative to hiring a chimney sweep, or simply as a way to do your part? 

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