What Does a Chimney Sweep Service Provide?
Homeowners across the country use wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves to keep their family warm throughout the winter. It’s an economic heating solution, but how do you know whether or not your chimney is safe to use?
Fire departments across the country respond to more than 25,000 residential structure fires annually, and a dirty chimney is the leading contributing factor in 1 out of 3 home fires, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics. One of the many services a chimney sweep provides is letting homeowners know whether or not their fireplace and chimney is safe.
What is A Chimney Sweep?
A chimney sweep is a professional who has undergone specialized training in the mechanics of the chimney and ventilation system and fire safety. Their main job function is to remove flammable creosote deposits in the flue to help prevent fires.
When you hire a chimney sweep you may notice they carry around a bunch of tools and equipment to perform their job. They use brushes, ladders, vacuums, soot sweepers and professional cleaning products and safety equipment to thoroughly clean and inspect the chimney, flue pipes, fireplaces, wood stoves and other supplemental heating appliances.
And when a level II or III inspection is necessary due to a change in the ventilation system, additional tools and equipment are used. The chimney sweep may also use video cameras to detect water leaks. They will also recommend and perform necessary chimney repairs and answer any questions a homeowner may have.
Most prospective home buyers will require a home inspection as a condition of sale. Chimney sweeps provide a chimney inspection service to prospective home buyers and/or sellers. Their report includes the condition of the fireplace and chimney along with any recommended repairs and associated costs. It’s a good way for buyers and sellers to avoid surprises that could jeopardize the sale of a home.
While chimney sweeps are not government regulated, the Chimney Safety Institute of American (CSIA) and National Chimney Sweep Safety Guild (NCSG) are the two non-governmental organizations that set the industry standards and certify individuals as chimney sweeps. A chimney sweep is also required to complete continuing education courses for recertification every two years.
How much does it cost?
A standard Level I inspection and basic chimney sweep is very inexpensive costing approximately $100 – $250 and takes about an hour to complete. The actual cost depends on your specific chimney and the amount of cleaning required. If you have multiple flues or several years of creosote deposits that need to be removed, the cost will be slightly higher.
Can I do it myself?
To avoid the risk of fire, injury or death, sweeping chimneys is best left to the certified professionals. Fire safety experts recommend all homeowners have their chimney inspected and cleaned at least once per year by a certified chimney sweep. It’s a small price to pay that will help keep you and your family safe while enjoying the fireplace throughout the season.