Everything you need to know about chimney sweeping and cleaning

Chimney Sweeping 101 - Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Cleaning

Many people don’t understand the upkeep obligation of owning a fireplace. And that makes sense. They seem so self-sustaining.

Fire goes in, smoke goes out. What else is there to know?

The truth of the matter is that chimneys are exposed to a lot.

Extreme temperatures. Wind. Rain. Dirt. Animals.

Employing the services of a chimney sweeper helps you stay on top of maintenance issues. Not only will it help you clear out dirt and debris, but it will also help you catch issues before they become major.

In this article, we go into everything you need to know about chimney sweeping. 

What Is a Chimney Sweep

What is a chimney sweep, who does them, and why do you need your chimney cleaned?

It’s easy to think of Mary Poppins when you hear the words “chimney sweep.”

Bad accents. Maybe the occasional musical number. Long brooms and lots and lots of soot. 

The reality of the chimney sweep job isn’t quite so melodic. 

A chimney sweep will clean out the chimney, which can help extend the life of your flue liner.

However, they will also inspect your entire fireplace network to ensure everything is as it needs to be. 

What’s the Difference Between Chimney Sweeping and Chimney Cleaning?  

There is no difference between a chimney sweep and a chimney cleaning. They are interchangeable phrases with the same meaning. 

A chimney cleaning service is perhaps the more modern way to refer to the process, but both phrases mean the same thing and will be routinely encountered as you look to get the job done. 

How Often Should a Chimney Be Swept?

The standard advice is to use the services of a chimney sweep at least once a year, though that recommendation may increase for frequently used fireplaces. 

Never-used chimneys can go a little longer without sweeping, but they also need regular upkeep.

You can speak with your chimney sweep about a schedule suited to your habits. 

However, many recommend annual inspections even for rarely used units to prevent small issues from escalating. 

What Happens If You Don’t Sweep a Chimney?  

Theoretically, chimneys can last as long as your house. Which is to say, forever.

However, this only happens with regular maintenance. According to Home Advisor, the average cost for a full chimney rebuild is almost $7000.

If you don’t regularly use a chimney sweep, a small problem that could have been caught early and addressed at an affordable price can quickly expand.  

Can You Sweep Your Chimney Yourself? 

Here's what you need to know if you're thinking about DIYing your chimney sweep

“I’m handy enough!” You think as you read this article. “I don’t need to call a professional!” Those with a DIY mentality might feel inspired to take this job on themselves. 

Below, we examine what that might look like.   

Chimney Sweep DIY

Chimney sweeping on your own is possible, though it’s generally not recommended. There are safety issues. Practical issues such as the costs of the tools. And quality issues. You might do a fine job cleaning it, but do you know chimneys well enough to look for signs of deterioration or animal intrusion?

Chimney Sweep Tools 

A professional chimney sweep will keep multiple brushes on hand. A wire brush. A polypropylene brush. A smoke chamber brush. A power sweeping system. 

They will also keep various safety articles on hand, including high-grade respirator masks and chimney-grade filters.

Some things that build up in chimneys are considered carcinogens, so safety is important. 

How to Sweep a Chimney 

Begin the chimney sweeping job by cleaning your fireplace and then sealing it up.

Once that’s taken care of, use your wire brush to scrub out the flue lining.

Then clean up the fireplace area with a shop vac or a broom and dustpan. 

It may sound easy, but the job can take up to four hours, and if you don’t know what you are doing, you will miss out on the most valuable element of professional assistance. 

How Often Should a Chimney Be Checked?

The inspection element of chimney sweeping is why professional assistance is typically required. Unless you’re a pro, you probably won’t be able to examine your chimney the way a hired company would. 

Hiring a Chimney Sweep Near You

Things to consider if you're looking to hire a chimney sweep professional in your area

Fortunately, hiring a local chimney sweep is an easy, straightforward process. 

The Best Time of the Year to Clean a Chimney

The best time to get your chimney cleaned is in the warmer months. This sets you up nicely for fall and winter and allows the professionals to experience ideal conditions for the cleaning process.

How Much Does a Chimney Sweep Cost?

A chimney sweeping will range in price depending on the variables of your home.

It can often cost several hundred dollars, but you should get a professional quote to know for sure.  

How to Prepare for a Chimney Sweep 

Fortunately, preparing is pretty easy. Clear out the hearth. Consider covering soft nearby furnishings, like carpets, and let the pros do their work. 

Chimney Sweep and Scan (Chimney Inspection)

Most chimney sweep sessions are uneventful. However, since inspections are involved, be prepared for additional service recommendations. 

Schedule a Yearly Chimney Sweep and Scan Today

Chimney sweeping with the help of the pros is an easy, straightforward process.

Regular servicing keeps your chimney in good condition and helps you avoid the possibility of bigger bills down the line. 

Interested in learning more about chimney upkeep? Then you may enjoy reading this article: Why Are My Bricks Falling Down?


Be sure to schedule your yearly chimney sweep service


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