While there are certain steps that a homeowner can take to ensure that their chimneys are in optimum conditions (see our tips page), having your chimneys properly cleaned and in excellent working condition requires the expertise of a chimney cleaning company.  Through years of study and experience, while utilizing the best technology, chimney cleaning professionals are able to perform comprehensive inspections of your chimneys.  They will be able to quickly diagnose any issues, recommend solutions and repairs, and ensure that the work is done properly and promptly.  Below are a series of frequently asked questions in regards to what the process of inspecting, cleaning and repairing a chimney entails.

What will you do to clean the chimney?

Your chimney professional should be able to give you a step by step description of how he plans to clean your chimney and what he will do to protect your household during the cleaning process.

Is there just soot in the chimney or is there creosote, too?

Soot is a safe substance as long as it is removed before its accumulation interferes with draft. It is, in most cases, easily brushed away.  On the other hand, creosote is a highly flammable substance which can ignite causing a chimney fire if it is not properly cleaned away. Additionally, the presence of creosote in the chimney may indicate poor burning practices or a burning appliance that is not working well.  In either case you should know of its presence, how the chimney professional will remove it, and what can be done to prevent or limit the presence of creosote in the chimney going forward.

Can you inspect/clean other flues in my house besides the fireplace?

Sometimes chimney professionals will offer volume price breaks when more than one chimney or flue will be inspected/cleaned. If you have a chimney cleaning professional onsite to clean and inspect the fireplace or stove flue, it’s a good idea to ask them to inspect your furnace/water heater flues as well.

How long will it take?

Every situation is different, but a thorough cleaning should take about 45 minutes to an hour on average.  The present of creosote in the flue, blockages or damage to the flue can increase the length of time required.  If the chimney cleaning company you hired indicates that more will be necessary you should ask why and for an estimate of how that will affect the completion of the process as well as the cost.

Do you inspect the chimney, too?

We recommend you have your flue inspected with each cleaning. A thorough inspection can alert you to possible unsafe conditions in your chimney.   Do not assume that this will always happen so it is good to ask.

Will you have to go on the roof?

Some chimney sweeps clean from the top down, some clean from the bottom up.  There is no one right way to attack the process as both will provide the same results.  In either case it’s good to know what their procedure will be, especially if you’re concerned about equipment and foot traffic potentially damaging flower beds or other landscaping.