Common Questions Around Chimney Services

How much is a chimney sweeping/cleaning?

As consumers, we are always looking for high quality at a fair price. Unfortunately, price will vary from company to company. Some questions to ask your chimney sweeping company, as it may affect price, should be:

  • Are the technicians who will be performing the work at my home certified chimney sweeps? You can check this beforehand by visiting the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) website or asking to see his Certified Chimney Sweep badge.
  • Will you need to be in the house to do the cleaning? If the answer is no, your sweep is not completing the job.
  • Are you a full chimney service company?
  • Do you visually or digitally inspect the entire chimney system?
  • Does the price include an annual inspection as required by the NFPA and CSIA?

Most will have insurance and will conduct sweepings using dust-free equipment. But not all chimney sweeps are the same. It is up to you to do your homework before you hire a chimney sweep!

What is a chimney inspection and do I need one?

An annual Level I Inspection is required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It will consist of a complete evaluation of the interior and exterior. From top to bottom, your chimney will be visually and or digitally examined. Any deterioration to mortar joints and flue will be noted. The crown and flashing will be checked for gaps, separations, and cracks. The firebox area, including the damper and smoke chamber, will also examined. The exterior masonry and the chimney cap will be examined as well.

I have birds in my chimney. What should I do?

Most likely, the birds in your chimney are Chimney Swifts. These Chimney Swifts and all birds, are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Act and cannot be removed — instead they must leave on their own. After they are gone, we can then sweep and remove nesting debris in the chimney flue. We do recommend that you have a chimney cap installed to prevent them from nesting in your chimney in the future — as these birds tend to return to the same chimney year after year.

What is a Digital Inspection?

The digital inspection is an internal evaluation of your chimney flue using remote vision equipment. The technicians send the equipment up into the chimney liner from the bottom and watches on a monitor from the fireplace, stove or furnace appliance. This way, we can see if there are any broken flue tiles, missing or eroded mortar joints, or open voids in your chimney. This is the best and most thorough way to inspect the flue liner. Take the guesswork out of chimney evaluation by hiring a qualified chimney professional that includes a digital inspection with their service. If you are a homeowner having your chimney swept or inspected, ask for a digital inspection. Seeing photographs of your chimney interior will give you added peace of mind and a general knowledge of your chimney system.

Should I have a chimney cap?

Yes, all chimneys should be capped per NFPA code. And not just fireplace chimneys, but furnace and boiler chimneys, as well. Caps will prevent rain and/or animals from getting inside your chimney. Most homeowners fear chimney fires and the damage they may cause. However, water and moisture damage is far more common. That’s why waterproofing, crown sealer, and chimney caps play such a vital role in chimney preservation and can save you a lot of money over the years.

My damper is not operating. Can it be repaired? Does it need to fully open and close?

We can sometimes repair dampers that appear to be stuck or have been lifted off their brackets or track. But oftentimes, they have been warped from excessive heat or rusted from moisture and need to be replaced. Your best solution is to install a top sealing damper. The damper is located at the top of the chimney and is operated by a chain, using a cable located in the firebox. This system will help prevent unwanted water and animals inside the chimney when not in use and can save you money on energy bills.

I am selling my home. What is required?

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines require a Level II Inspection upon the sale or transfer of a property. A Level II inspection is more detailed and is indicated when verification of the suitability of the chimney is needed. This is not an inspection provided by a home inspector, so you’ll need to call a CSIA certified sweep for the job.

How long does a chimney sweeping and inspection take?

A Level I inspection and sweeping typically takes approximately from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. Our technicians take great measures to protect your home and property, so you don’t have to worry about being left with a mess!

I have water leaking in my masonry chimney. Help!

There are many places a masonry chimney can leak. One thing we’ll check for is a chimney cap. A chimney without a cap has an uncovered hole at the top (above the roof line), which allows water easy access. Next, we check the flashing at the base of your chimney, as it is a common point of entry. The flashing should be secured to all sides of the chimney facing and the roof, and should be free of separations, gaps, or holes. Another area we check on the roof is the area that slopes toward the chimney (where there is a steep pitch). If the roof is too steep or the chimney is too wide, the roof should have a cricket built against the chimney to divert water away from it. The chimney crown should also be free of cracks and should slope away from the chimney. And finally, the masonry chimney brick is checked for cracked or deteriorating mortar joints, which could allow water in.

I heat my home with gas/oil. Should my chimney flue be checked and swept?

Yes! Even though we know gas to be a relatively clean burning fuel, your appliance and chimney still need attention. Gas and oil each produce their own corrosive byproducts, so an annual inspection and sweeping will help to ensure that there are no flue blockages, no damage, and that everything is working as it should. Your gas or oil supplier only service the appliance unit not the chimney that it vents through.

What is causing my fireplace to stink?

Many homeowners complain of fireplace odors, especially in the summer. These odors are typically caused by creosote buildup and worsened by the summer humidity and heat. Scheduling a cleaning can typically help this problem, but you may also need to invest in a commercial chimney deodorant or use baking soda or kitty litter. Be sure to have your chimney checked for leaks and ask your sweep about a top-mounted damper as well.

What can I expect with an annual chimney/flue sweeping?

We will sweep and high speed Hepa vacuum all aspects of your fireplace wood stove or gas log appliance: the firebox, the damper, smoke shelf, smoke chamber, and the flue. After the sweeping is complete, your technician will perform a full Level I Inspection (included in the price of the sweeping) and review the service report with you and show you pictures of your chimney system inside and out. To save yourself time and hassle, we have a forward-scheduling program, in which we will set up your next annual appointment. That way, you see the same friendly faces from the same friendly company, year after year, and you don’t even have to think about it.

Will Clean Sweep AA clean the ashpit/ashdump?

Cleaning of the ashpit/ashdump is not included in the annual service. Have more questions? Need to schedule? Call or request an appointment online!


See the before and after photos of many of our projects to get a good idea of the quality work we do! We think you’ll be glad you found out about us!