Why Do I Need a Chimney Sweep?
Chimney sweeps remove creosote buildup from the interior walls of your chimney. This makes your home safer and improves the airflow to your fireplace. Creosote forms when smoke cools inside a chimney. A creosote layer thicker than 1/4-inch increases the risk of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cleaning out your chimney also improves airflow and boosts the performance of your home's heating and cooling system, saving you hundreds of dollars a year on utility bills. An experienced chimney sweep can also find masonry cracks, damaged dampers, gaps in the flue lining, airflow blockages, and other chimney damage. Catching and repairing these problems early saves you money and prevents future fire safety hazards.
What Does a Chimney Sweep Do?
Modern chimney service companies are a far cry from the top hatted chimney sweeps seen in movies like Mary Poppins. Bert The Chimney Sweep would be jealous of today's power vacuums and digital cameras that allow technicians to work from below instead of dancing along the rooftops while child chimney sweeps do the dirty work.
If your chimney leaks, a professional chimney sweeper can inspect the damage, patch cracks in masonry chimneys, and repair brick chimneys. Chimney sweeps also perform maintenance and repair on your home's ducts and vents, including dryer vent cleaning.
Product list here: chimney caps, flue liners, dampers
Chimney Sweep Costs
Chimney cleaning prices may be lower in the warm weather months if your local chimney sweep does not have as many customers in the off-season. The cost of a chimney sweep also depends on the amount of creosote buildup, type of heating system installed in the home, and the difficulty of accessing the chimney and fireplace opening.
(* All chimney sweep pricing is for informational purposes only. Chimneysweeps101.com does not provide any chimney sweep services or products.)
What to Look for When Hiring a Chimney Sweep
Look for a chimney sweep who is certified by the NCSG or CSIA if you live in the U.S., or the appropriate governing body in your country. Never hire a chimney sweep who cannot provide a copy of his liability and workers' compensation insurance policies. Once you are satisfied that a sweep is qualified and properly insured, then you can move on to comparing price rates and finding chimney sweep reviews online.
Chimney Sweep Certification
Professional chimney sweeps are certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Chimney Safety Institute of America. To obtain certification, a chimney sweep must pass a standardized test that demonstrates his or her knowledge of both the technical aspects and the safety concerns of the job. Continuing education classes keep them updated on the latest chimney cleaning equipment, techniques, and fire safety concerns. Certified chimney sweeps are also trained on the latest energy efficient technology, so they can help you find ways to reduce energy consumption and save money on utility bills.
Where to Find a Chimney Sweep
Start by asking your friends and neighbors if they know any local chimney sweeps. Word-of-mouth recommendations from people in your area are usually best for service-oriented businesses like chimney cleaners. Other places you might find a chimney sweep include Craigslist, YP.com, and your local newspaper's classified ads. You can also search the membership directory of the NCSG or CSIA or other chimney sweep certification sites.
How Often Should You Sweep Your Chimney?
Have your chimney swept yearly or each time you burn through a cord of wood. This keeps the chimney's creosote level under the fire safety threshold of 1/4-inch. If you burn manufactured logs in your fireplace, have it swept after every 50 to 60 logs. You should also hire a chimney sweep whenever you make major changes to the fireplace, roof, or vent system. Schedule a full sweep and inspection after a chimney fire. Fires can damage the interior of the chimney and make your home more susceptible to a second chimney fire.