What can you burn to clean a chimney? This is our focus today.
At some point, every homeowner using a wood-burning fireplace will have to figure out what to do to limit creosote buildup.
3 Things To Burn To Clean Chimney
When burning wood fuels, it’s common to find a steady accumulation of creosote and ash along with the chimney liner.
This happens when hot combustion gases condense at the upper parts of a chimney due to cooler temperatures. So, instead of such gases exiting with the smoke, they condense to form creosotes and ash.
When faced with such a challenge, you’ll have to look for what to burn to clean your chimney.
Why not call a chimney sweep to get the job done?
Calling the pros is the easy way out to have dirt removed from your chimney. However, you also have a role to play in its maintenance. How you use your fireplace is directly linked to how much creosote is deposited on your chimney flue.
The chimney sweep should be called to perform basic chimney inspections and cleanup once a year. Between time, you should be responsible for how well your chimney operates. This includes maintenance actions such as burning certain chemicals or specially designed fuels that react with creosotes and ash.
It Goes Beyond Burning Seasoned Wood
Only using properly seasoned wood has its place in reducing the volume of creosote and ash buildup within your chimney. However, it isn’t enough as there’s still some accumulation of these combustion byproducts.
When the accumulation goes on for too long, it increases the possibility of a chimney fire.
You’ll need to act by finding solutions. Luckily, there are things you can add to your burning fire to limit the volume of creosote buildup. They include rock salt, copper sulfate, and creosote logs.
We’ll focus more on each of these points in a jiffy.
Before then, let’s have a look at the problems caused by chimney dirt.
Common Problems with Chimney Dirt
Whether you’re looking at accumulated creosote on your chimney walls or the dark & brown ash formed, none of these helps with the efficient functioning of your chimney.
Apart from affecting the smooth functioning of your chimney, you’re exposed to several risks.
First off, creosotes are known to be highly flammable.
The chance of such igniting increases with steady accumulation. How does such accumulation occur? Such steady creosote accumulation is brought about by the combustion of wood fuels or logs.
These release hot combustion gases and smoke which travel up the chimney. With cooler temperatures above, these gases are likely to condense on chimney walls.
Combustion byproducts include chemical compounds, gases as well as wood particles.
What to Burn to Reduce Creosote and Ash in Chimney
If you’re seeking to perform basic maintenance of your chimney, you may want to consider burning certain chemical compounds. These include rock salt, copper sulfate, and creosote logs.
Any of these will serve to provide some form of relief. So, how do they work?
We’ll need to first consider each of them to better understand.
i. Rock Salt
Rock salt is one readily available ingredient that can be used as a combustive chimney cleaning agent. This DIY cleaning agent consists of sodium chloride.
Common table salt consists of this chemical compound.
All you have to do is have such sprinkled on your fire when using your fireplace. The chemical compounds contained within rock salt travel up your chimney to free up creosote deposits.
How it Works
Creosote is known to contain certain oils which give it its glossy shine when stuck on chimney walls. When you burn rock salt, the chemicals released will travel up and react with creosote by drying out its oils.
When dried, what’s left is sooty ash. This process neutralizes the flammable nature of creosote.
There are Downsides to Rock Salt Use for Chimney Cleaning
While rock salt will give you the results you seek by ridding your chimney of byproducts of wood combustion, it has its own disadvantages. This mostly applies to metal chimneys.
Sodium chloride is corrosive to metal and will quickly degrade with continued use.
ii. Copper Sulfate
Asides from rock salt, another chemical compound you can burn to help clean your chimney is copper sulfate. This is mostly contained in commercial chimney cleaning products.
It mostly comes in powder form and is best used or burned the night before the chimney is to be cleaned.
How it Works
This DIY combustive chimney cleaning treatment works by forming a compound that seals or coats creosote and ash. It won’t only coat it, but chemically react with it, thus causing it to burn slowly at low temperature.
With this method, the risk of a chimney fire is significantly reduced.
Compared to having your chimney cleaned by a professional, copper sulfate won’t be as comprehensive treatment as that offered by a chimney sweep.
In other words, it cannot be used as a standalone chimney cleaning product. You’ll do well to combine it with professional cleaning.
iii. Creosote Logs
Creosote cleaning logs, also known as chimney logs serve to remove all sorts of creosote and ash deposits on chimney walls.
As the name implies, these come in the form of logs which are designed to be combustive and can either be burned before putting in wood or can e combined.
How Creosote Logs Work
Creosote logs are infused with certain chemicals which are released when burned. This helps loosens glued creosote on chimney walls.
You only need to use this as directed by the manufacturer for the best results.
Downsides of Creosote Log Use
Creosote logs may give you desired results but won’t serve as a standalone chimney cleaning solution. In other words, you’ll need to use this while also calling for a professional cleaning service.
Can these DIY Methods take the Place of Chimney Sweeps?
However great you consider DIY chimney cleaning methods to be, they won’t measure up with professional cleaning. Chimney sweeps provide a much comprehensive cleaning job for chimneys.
The best part about this is that both DIY and professional cleaning can be used.
So there you have it! There are several options when it comes to combustive chimney cleaners as shown above. These are best combined with cleaning offered by chimney sweeps.