And why is it necessary?
An annual chimney sweep is beneficial in a number of ways, most importantly because the process removes creosote buildup from the inner walls of the chimney. Creosote, which is a sticky tar-like substance that adheres to the inside of the chimney, is highly flammable and requires regular removal in order to prevent chimney fires. Even if you do not burn wood in your fireplace regularly, the chimney is still susceptible to blockage from animal nests, the debris from which could easily ignite when you do start a fire.
An additional benefit of regular service is that the chimney sweep technician can check for any repair issues that may need to be addressed. Chimney problems, like many others, start small but left unaddressed can become major and critical repairs, increasing in urgency as well as in cost as time passes.
The average cost of chimney sweeping
Hiring a professional chimney sweep will generally cost you between $100 and $300, with deep discounts at the low end of that range, and conditions requiring increased labor at the high end.
Dedicated DIYers can find chimney sweeping brushes online for as low as $20 if you're willing to put in the time, research, and labor. This route comes with risks, of course, particularly if working from the roof. Do it yourself and you'd also be missing out on the trained eye of a professional.
When you purchase a chimney sweeping service, after all, you're also in effect paying for the technician's experience and expertise. Additionally, chimney sweep professionals, because they sweep several chimneys a day, tend to invest in state-of-the-art, industry-grade equipment both for its effectiveness and efficiency.
Factors that increase cost
Though most companies have a standard price they charge for run-of-the-mill chimney sweep jobs, surcharges are often necessary for conditions that will render the job more labor-intensive or risky. Some examples:
- If disassembly is required for sufficient cleaning; for example, in the case of some wood stoves or fireplace inserts.
- If animals, living or dead, are found inside your chimney. This increases the risk for the tech (if living) and the yuck factor (if dead).
- If you have an extremely high or steep-pitched roof, increasing both the risk to the tech and the liability of the job.
- If you order any additional services not included in the base price, such as emptying of the ash pit, chimney cap installation, or a higher-level inspection.
Finding a company
Pricing for a chimney sweep service will vary from company to company, as will the quality of work performed. Some questions you may consider asking in order to arrive at an informed decision include the following:
- What does the service include? Does it include an inspection? Will the inspection be performed from ground-level or from the rooftop?
- How many years of experience do your technicians have?
- Is your company CSIA certified?
- Do you use the top-down (from the rooftop) or bottom-up (through the fireplace) method of cleaning?
Understanding the benefits of having the service performed regularly and comparing the features and pricing of the service among several companies will leave you well-equipped to make decisions for the long-term health of your chimney.
Wanna dig deeper? Download our free tipsheet: 5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Chimney Cleaning Company.