Do You Need to Hire a Chimney Sweep?

by Meghan Stiltner
man cleaning chimney

Do you have a chimney in your home? Have you cleaned it recently ... or ever? Sweeping the chimney is a task that many homeowners forget about. It's not a common area of their home, and you might not really think about it until it's cold outside and you want to start a fire. Unfortunately, the kind of fire that might start if you neglect your chimney isn't the kind you want to roast chestnuts over.

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Let's review some important things you need to know about your chimney, as well as how to ensure it gets clean it properly.

What Does a Chimney Sweep Do?

Chimney sweep isn't a clever name — it's what you call someone who sweeps chimneys. But they'll also take care of the other areas related to the chimney, such as:

  • The fireplace
  • Smoke ducts
  • Flue pipes

Chimney sweeps are knowledgeable and skilled at their jobs to help you maintain your chimney and protect your homes. They can educate you on the importance of keeping your chimney clean and how to prevent fires — the unintended kind.

How Do You Know If Your Chimney Needs to Be Cleaned?

Some things that you'll notice when it's time to have your fireplace cleaned include:

  • There's a persistent burnt-wood smell when no fire is burning.
  • A fire is not able to burn properly.
  • It produces excessive smoke.
  • The damper is black.

You should keep a log of the dates you've had your chimney cleaned to help you to stay on track and know when it's time to have it serviced again.

Can a Dirty Chimney Cause a Fire?

Having a fireplace in your home makes it nice and cozy, especially inviting if you live somewhere that has cold winters. There's nothing like cuddling up to a nice warm fire in the evening — but you need to make sure that you're maintaining it for the safety of your household.

When a chimney is dirty and doesn't get swept, you are at a higher risk of a house fire. Chimney fires tend to be big and destructive when they occur, producing big, roaring flames.

How to Hire a Professional Chimney Sweep

If you've never had your chimney swept, you may not know where to start when it comes time to hire a professional to do the job. The internet is a great tool when trying to find a reputable professional in your area, so do your research and find one who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

What's the Average Cost to Have Your Chimney Swept?

The price of chimney-sweeping services varies widely depending on where you live. The average cost is around $250. The type of fireplace you have and the amount of cleaning needed will impact that cost of service. Naturally, if you've neglected chimney maintenance, it's going to cost you more.

How Long Does a Professional Chimney Sweeping Take?

Cleaning time will vary by individual, but you can expect the job to take at least 45 minutes if your chimney is routinely cared for. The dirtier your chimney is, the longer it'll take to clean it, while the size of it likely will add time to the process as well.

A routine cleaning is also a opportune time to have the contractor do a preventive checkup. The chimney sweep can look for any structural damage or other problems that might not be evident to the homeowner.

Since we're all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you the peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.