Many homeowners are curious if chimney sweep logs or creosote scavenging logs are effective in cleaning chimney flues and removing creosote residue. The answer is no, they don't work well enough to completely clean the flue pipe. However, if used regularly, they can help make chimney cleaning easier. Chimney cleaning logs contain chemical additives that rise through the chimney and adhere to creosote deposits.
These chemicals dry creosote into a flaky substance that is less flammable and easier to remove. Creosote logs work to loosen creosote and make chimney cleaning easier. However, these logs are not a substitute for a complete chimney sweep. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends using creosote logs in conjunction with a professional chimney sweep. Chimney sweeping logs can't clean your chimney, but they can have their place in your overall chimney maintenance program.
Chimney sweep logs have these cleaning chemicals, and as they burn, most chemicals go up and out of the chimney, but some stick to the creosote and begin to loosen it. To minimize the risk of downdrafts, burn a fire with normal wood and, after the fire has been extinguished, place the chimney cleaning log over the hot embers. If you burn one or two fires a week, it's enough to burn a chimney cleaning log at the beginning or middle of the season. While chimney cleaning logs can reduce creosote buildup, it doesn't completely eliminate or prevent it. These logs may also be referred to as a creosote scavenger log, chimney sweep log, creosote log, or creosote cleanup log. There is no substitute for having your chimney cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional at least once a year.
CSIA-certified chimney sweeps clean, inspect and repair chimneys, because after all, chimneys wear out like other parts of your home. Chimney cleaning logs make it easy to remove creosote and can help you and your chimney sweep. They really can make your fireplace easier to maintain, but they can't replace regular professional cleaning and will only help you if you use them properly.