10 questions to ask when you’re getting your chimney cleaned

1 – When Should My Chimney Be Cleaned?

Chimney/Flue cleanings are based on how often you use your fireplace, wood stove, etc. For open fireplaces, some experts advise having maintenance done every two to three years per each chord that is burnt. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends once a year inspection, cleaning and repairs. Keep in mind that regular inspection and maintenance of your chimney is necessary to prevent unnecessary fire hazards.


2 – Will You Tell Me What You Are Going to Do to My Chimney?

Any qualified professional chimney cleaner is going to be more than willing to speak with you at length about exactly what happens during the cleaning process. You’ll be given a complete overview of what type of cleaning will take place, how the cleaning process works and what precautions are taken to ensure that your home is 100% protected.


3 – How Long Does It Take to Clean My Chimney?

Cleanings and inspections can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours or more. It all depends on how many flues you have in the home and what condition they are in. In general, it will take longer to clean a chimney or fireplace that has a severe amount of dirt and/or damage. After the chimney cleaning professional assesses your individual situation, they should be able to give you an estimate on time.


4 – Will You Also Be Inspecting My Chimney?

A thorough inspection can be done at your request. While it’s a good idea to have an inspection done at the time of cleaning, this isn’t an automatic service. We highly recommend that you ask that an inspection is included so that you’ll be alerted to any possible safety hazards.


5 – What is the Difference Between Creosote and Soot?

Creosote and soot are substances created from burning that accumulate inside of the chimney. Creosote is by far the more worrisome out of the two. Creosote is made up of unburned wood particles and flue gases. Once there is too much buildup, it can be a highly combustible fire hazard. If not cleaned out properly, it can ignite and create an intense fireball.

Soot, on the other hand, is relatively harmless as long as it contains a high level of ash. However, soot can become combustible when too much of it accumulates and it interferes with draft.

Both creosote and soot can be removed by having a professional chimney cleaning.


6 – Can I Get Additional Flues In My Home Cleaned Too?

In some cases, you may be able to receive a discount if you have more than one flue that needs cleaning. For absolute peace of mind, it is a good idea to have all of the flues in your home inspected and cleaned if needed. Your chimney cleaning professional should be more than happy to discuss this with you.


7 – Will You Be Working on Top of the Roof?

Chimney cleaning can be done from on top of the roof or from inside the residence. Professionals have their own method. You should ask before the cleaning begins if they will be using a ladder and working on the roof. If this is a concern, ask how the surrounding area will be protected from damage.


8 – What is Your Fee?

All quotes for services should be clearly stated and there should be no hidden surprise fees tacked on after a cleaning job is finished.


9 – Do You Have Any Certifications?

While it is not absolutely necessary in all states for chimney professionals to be certified, many do have certification from CISA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) or F.I.R.E. (Fire Investigation Research and Education). Certification is an added protection that the consumer is getting someone who is competent and trustworthy.


10 – How Many Years Have You Been in Business?

A good question to ask that offers you some idea of the level of professionalism involved. The best chimney professionals have provided their services in a community for a number of years. Longevity is another indicator of advanced skills and trustworthy services being provided.

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What People are Saying

  • As a realtor, I am called upon to arrange for houses to be cleaned prior to clients moving both in and out. Time and time again, Betsy and her crew have done a remarkable job in a short amount of time. I can always count on them to be prompt, thorough and reasonable. I would highly recommend her services.” Marilynn "Mo" L. Reycroft Warren Real Estate – Ithaca NY