Does Burning Aluminum Cans Clean Your Chimney?

If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, creosote will inevitably build up. Chimney & Masonry Outfitters has provided trusted, reliable chimney cleaning service to homeowners in Nashville, TN and across the U.S. since 2011. 

Our customers trust us to educate, empower, and equip them with the tools they need to improve the value of their homes, whether that is through routine chimney and fireplace maintenance or by making necessary restorative repairs.

As a professional chimney sweep company, we know all the tricks to preventing or getting rid of creosote buildup in your chimney.  This article will debunk one of these myths and provide you with safe solutions for preventing creosote from accumulating in your fireplace. 

What is Creosote?

Creosote is the natural byproduct of wood that burns in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Creosote can collect over time in the chimney flue which could eventually result in a devastating chimney fire. This is why it is important to perform regular maintenance on your chimney to remove creosote buildup. 

Burning Aluminum Cans To Clean Your Chimney

Many have claimed that burning aluminum cans is an effective technique to clean your chimney. Though there may have been cases where this method has worked slightly, nothing takes the place of actually cleaning out the chimney. 

In fire tests conducted on aluminum materials, it was found that when fire temperatures exceed the melting point (which occurs at a range of 600-660°C), aluminum surfaces that are exposed to the fire can melt, but do not burn.  Heating the cans causes an increase in heat in a chimney which can help prevent creosote from building up on a clean chimney. However, aluminum oxides are very stable and do not react to high temperature. This means that there will not be much of an impact on built-up creosote.     

Our professionals at Chimney & Masonry Outfitters recommend that homeowners get their chimney system serviced at least once a year.  Chimney sweep is vital to protecting the health and safety of your family and home.

How to Avoid Creosote Buildup in Your Fireplace Chimney 

Use Efficient Burning Techniques

To help prevent creosote from building up in your fireplace, it is important to use efficient burning techniques. For example, burn small, hot fires using hardwood. This will reduce the amount of creosote that accumulates in your system, while also maximizing heat output.  You should ensure that your fires are kept burning hot with flames, rather than smoldering, which can create an excessive amount of smoke. 

You’ll also want to take care not to add too much firewood. Make sure that the top of the flames remain visible right below the opening of the fireplace. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to add smaller loads more frequently than to try cramming in too much wood in order to get a fire that will burn all day. 

Once you’re ready to extinguish your fire, you should separate the logs by pushing them towards the side of the fireplace. You can also stand them on the end at the back of the fireplace. Once this is done, close the screen, but do not shut the damper until you are certain that the fire and coals have been put out completely. 

Warm Your Flue Before Building Your Fire

Warming your flue before building your fire is important, especially if your chimney is made from metal or is located on an outside wall of your home. This is because it’s likely that your home will be colder when the temperature outside starts to drop during the winter season. 

A simple way to do this is to roll up a piece of newspaper and light it, holding it under the damper until the air surrounding the area begins to warm up.  Starting a fire in a cooler flue can cause poor combustion and lead to more creosote buildup in your system. 

Cleaning Chimney Services in Nashville, TN 

If you have an older fireplace with a vent inserted into a masonry chimney, it’s always best to contact a chimney professional like those at Chimney & Masonry Outfitters. We will conduct a full inspection of your flue to ensure that it is functioning properly. If a flue is too large, it can cause smoke to linger in the chimney for much longer than it should, creating excessive creosote buildup.  

Contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters to schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. Proper service of your chimney is necessary to extend the life of your system. It is also an important measure to take to prevent a potential chimney fire from destroying your home.

Have additional questions you’d like to ask regarding our services? Give our team a call at 615-823-8268 to schedule a free consultation. You can also email us directly at office@cmoutfitters.com or fill out our online contact form.