A chimney sweep brush vs chimney cleaning logs. I get this question frequently. I cannot speak for the cleaning logs because I have not observed their effect over time, with various degrees of creosote build up. I have been cleaning chimneys for 24 years now. To be able to answer this question, I would have to start with a CLEAN chimney. I would have to record how much wood was used and how long it took for the chimney to get to the point where a manual sweeping was required. And of course, I would need to keep a record of when the chimney cleaning logs were used. My best advice (if you are going to use these logs) is that you start with photographs of your chimney flue and the smoke chamber above the damper. Record all of the data I listed above and come to your own conclusion. Make sure you have a reliable chimney sweep if you are going to use his assistance. The logs do not take the place of structural and mechanical inspections. These need to be done as well. And remember, there are simply situations where cleaning logs do not take the place of chimney sweep brushes.
Have a good week!
Some quick data to think with regarding an inoperable damper. First, sometimes an inoperable damper can be made to work again with a little coaxing with a hammer and some WD-40 and some back-and-forth movement to work it free. I have had a high rate of success over the last 20 years with freeing up a damper that has been stuck open or closed due to lack of use. If a damper does need to be replaced, one can be mounted on top of the chimney. A top-mounted damper also acts as a rain cap that will keep water and animals out of your chimney. You can certainly appreciated the value of keeping animals out of your chimney if you have ever had one come in and decide to die in it. Wonderful odor in the house… This photo is of a top-closing damper. It is operated via a stainless steel cable that runs down the chimney flue and attaches to a bracket that is installed in the fireplace opening on a side wall.
Occasionally there will be repairs that need to occur at the top of the chimney in order to install this unit. We give free estimates for damper installations. (360) 754-3902.
Yes, there are three levels of chimney inspections.
The National Fire Protection Association is the industry standard code. Specifically, NFPA-211 goes over these levels exhaustively. The NFPA makes this data available to the public for free. You will have to set up an account, but it is not a big deal. Click the link below if you want to get your data from the source:
A spark arrestor is a tight-fitting metal chimney cap that reduces spark output into the environment. They are made of galvanized steel, stainless steel, copper, etc. This year I have received more requests than any of the previous 20 years for spark arrestors. The exact term used was "spark arrestor." This tells me that people are concerned more than ever about preventing wildfires.
A homeowner gets the additional benefit of keeping the inside of the chimney flue dry and keeping animals from nesting in the chimney. Another benefit is that the damper does not rust (spendy repair bill when I have to replace a damper…) The list of dead animals I have pulled out of a chimney with no rain cap is birds, squirrels and a duck! Homeowners complained about the odor. Even though I have a vested interest in selling the idea of purchasing a spark arrestor, it does make good sense and is a wise use of your money. Having completed that pitch, Happy Labor Day!
The people at the USDA Forest Service probably know a thing or two about firewood and its use…
Go to this link for some great data:
We recently cleaned a fireplace chimney that had a woodstove insert with no liner. This is as bad as it gets:
The above photos are of extremely flexible PVC rods and of a poly brush. This equipment is ideal for cleaning light-weight stainless steel all-flex liners. These rods and brushes navigate bends in flexible liners very easily. The rods and brushes in the photos below are very stiff, and can get caught up in a flex liner, and possibly rip the liner. They should not be used: