Q:

How do chimney sweep logs work?

A:

Quick Answer

Manufacturers impregnate chimney sweep logs with chemicals that help break down the tar and creosote inside of the chimney that can cause a fire. When a homeowner burns the log, the chemicals rise with the smoke and cling to the creosote and tar. Over time, these chemicals soften the deposits in the chimney.

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Full Answer

Chimney sweep logs can diminish creosote, but homeowners should not use them as a substitute for chimney cleaning. Manufacturers state that these logs can remove up to 60 percent of the creosote, so without manual cleaning the chimney still could represent a fire hazard. A U.S. Federal court found that manufacturers could not label these logs as a "chimney cleaning logs" or claim that the logs prevent chimney fires. Also, if the chimney sweep log removes the creosote, the creosote either burns up promptly to create an immediate fire hazard or falls onto the smoke shelf where it can later catch on fire.

Manual cleaning without chemicals by a professional can usually remove all of the tar and creosote within a chimney. However, if no one has cleaned the chimney regularly, the chimney can have hard, glazed deposits of tar and creosote inside. In these cases, a professional chimney sweep applies chemicals to soften the deposits and then follows the chemical treatment with further manual cleaning.

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