Ask the Sweep
Ask the Sweep



Why should I get my fireplace cleaned?
Creosote is a by-product of wood combustion. It's composed of various pyroligneous acids and methol alcohol. These corrosive acids, combined with humid air cause the rusting of interior fireplace parts. The corrosion can lead to openings in the flue liner or smoke chamber. These openings allow hot gases to enter the wall cavity possibly causing a serious fire. The methol alcohol portion of the creosote can ignite from a very hot fire in the firebox causing a dangerous chimney fire which can spread to the attic or roof. To prevent this, metal pre-fabricated fireplaces should be cleaned every two years and masonry fireplaces every three years.

How is a fireplace cleaned?
Most fireplaces are cleaned from the roof, others from the bottom up. We use either steel wire brushes or synthetic depending on the fireplace construction. There is no easy way to do it. For a thorough cleaning job, creosote must be scaped away.

Will it make a mess of my house?
To keep your house clean we place a large drop cloth in the work area in front of the fireplace. We utilize a high speed industrial vacuum capable of filtering dust particles down to 0.05 microns. A large hose is placed in the firebox during the cleaning process which creates a negative pressure, forcing room air up the chimney carrying soot particles up and away.

I've seen logs sold in stores that claim to remove creosote. Don't they work just as well?
They contain an oxidizing agent that will break up creosote deposits in the flue liner and smoke chamber, but they won't dissolve them. They must be removed by a thorough and complete fireplace cleaning.

What is the best type of wood to burn?
Creosote is found in all types of wood. It's been assumed that there is more wood tar and creosote in pine than in the harder wood varieties, but this is not true. Creosote manifests itself in the form of condensation. The wetter the wood you burn the more creosote is produced. You can burn almost any type of wood as long as it's dry and well seasoned.

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