How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Chimney Sweep?

by Team HomeServe
man cleaning chimney

It's all too easy to forget about your chimney when the weather is warm, but a dirty or obstructed chimney could become a hazard when you light a fire.

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Hiring a professional chimney cleaning service ensures that your chimney is safe to use. So, how much does a chimney sweep cost? Find out below.

Do I Need to Hire a Chimney Sweep?

Sweeping your chimney is essential for your safety if you have a working fire because wood smoke produces creosote, a type of soot that can build up inside the chimney. Built-up creosote or fallen debris inside your chimney could catch on fire if you don't remove it, potentially causing a house fire. An obstructed chimney could also prevent dangerous gasses like carbon monoxide from exiting your home.

You can sweep your chimney yourself, but it's still wise to hire a professional regularly. Many professional chimney sweeps can also inspect your chimney for damage and recommend repairs. Identifying and repairing chimney damage is an important safety measure because even small cracks can open up under high temperatures, increasing the risk of a house fire. A chimney sweep can also remove animal nests and large debris causing blockages and evict any animals setting up shop inside your chimney. Therefore, you should also have your chimney swept if you have a gas fireplace.

It's recommended to follow a regular chimney-cleaning schedule, even if everything appears to be working properly. However, the following signs indicate that you should have your chimney swept before lighting your next fire:

  • It's harder to light a fire, or it doesn't burn as well as usual.
  • You notice creosote buildup on the fireplace damper or blackened, oily-looking patches on the walls around the fire.
  • Smoke builds up inside the room when you light a fire instead of escaping up the chimney.
  • You notice signs of animals nesting inside your chimney.
  • You notice an unpleasant smell coming from your chimney, especially during warmer weather.

Can I Use a Chimney-Cleaning Log Instead?

A chimney-cleaning log contains chemicals to loosen creosote buildup in your chimney. You can find these at your local hardware store, and you burn them in your fireplace alongside regular logs. Chimney-cleaning logs are a good solution for cleaning your chimney between professional sweeps.

However, chimney-cleaning logs aren't a suitable replacement for sweeping services. A log can remove flaky creosote, but it can't tackle the tarry or glazed creosote or remove obstructions.

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How Much Does a Chimney Sweep Cost?

According to Forbes, hiring a professional chimney sweep costs $120 and $390 (CAD 161 to CAD 524) on average. Prices can vary significantly depending on where you live. You may have to pay more if your chimney is in poor condition, you haven't cleaned it for a long time or animals are living inside it. Sweeping and repairing a damaged chimney could cost as much as $5,000 (CAD 6,721).

What Does a Chimney Cleaning Service Include?

A basic chimney sweeping service includes an inspection of your chimney and fireplace. The chimney sweep will remove any soot buildup and obstructions. They may inspect the chimney from the fireplace or the roof, and some use specialized cameras to get a clearer view of your chimney's interior.

The contractor may need to clean your chimney using chemical treatments if you have tarry, glazed creosote inside your chimney. They may also perform basic repairs, but you might need to hire a contractor if the sweep discovers more serious structural issues.

How Often Should I Get My Chimney Swept?

You should schedule a professional chimney sweeping service at least once a year, even if you clean the chimney yourself between inspections. Book a chimney sweeping service right away if you notice any of the warning signs mentioned earlier in this article, even if it's less than a year since your last service. Chimney sweeping contractors often get very busy during the winter when people start using their fireplaces, so you may find it easier to book a service during the spring or summer.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.