Owning a chimney entails more expenses than you might know, one of them associated with cleaning. But how much does a chimney sweep costs, exactly?
When asked about how much does it cost to clean a chimney, 16.000 homeowners across the nation say that $241 is the average chimney sweep price. As for a typical chimney cleaning, the cost can vary between $127 and $355.
Moreover, when it comes to wood fireplaces, the cleaning price depends on the regularity of the maintenance. A well-maintained fireplace can cost between $85 and $100, whereas a neglected one can scale up to $800.
For more autonomous people, chimney cleaning costs can be decreased. A set composed by a brush and a rod costs around $20-$30 for a masonry chimney. For a metal chimney, it can rise up to $29-$36. A vacuum, a ladder, a scrubbing brush, safety goggles, a rigid brush, a dust mask and some drop cloths should also be considered.
Why is it so important to clean the chimney?
Creosote is a brunable substance produced by firing wood. This product gets incrusted in the chimney over time and can provoke a chimney fire, if not cleaned. That’s why it’s so important to inspect your chimney before lighting up the fireplace for the season. It’s also important to perform a chimney cleaning from time to time to ensure that is working without any issues.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises that homeowners inspect their chimneys and fireplaces at least once a year. This will guarantee that they are free of residues that would block the air and smoke, preventing them from moving up the chimney to leave the house.
The NFPA mentions that 30% of fires caused by fireplaces are due to a lack of chimney cleaning habits. Also, almost 20% of all fire deaths are caused by damaged heating equipment. That’s why it’s so important to be informed about cleaning and inspection, how can you do it and how much does a chimney sweep cost.
What does a chimney sweep include?
According to recommendations from the NFPA, a chimney should be swept at least once a year, to make sure it keeps working properly and in a safe way.
When researching how much does a chimney sweep cost, try to know what it includes. This will guarantee that the service you are paying for is complete
A rigorous fireplace and chimney inspection and cleaning should include:
- A sweep and checking the firebox, liners, smoke chamber, and flue. The chimney exterior should also be inspected.
- Recommendations for correct operation or replacement of equipment. You should also receive advice on necessary repairs for the equipment or structure.
- A video inspection. This might be an extra service, but it’s important to search for some hidden damages during the chimney inspection
Still wondering if you need a chimney sweeping and inspection? Check for these signs to make your decision:
- Check for built-up soot and creosote. Before you start, check to see if there isn’t any draft coming down the chimney. If there is, open a window or a door to circulate the air in the house and reverse the draft. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Use a strong light up into the flue and scrape the soot. If it measures up to more than ⅛ in thickness, your chimney needs to be cleaned.
- If your house fills up with smoke every time you fire up your chimney, that’s a sign that there is some blockage in it.
- Sounds coming down from the chimney might show that there are some animals trapped there. There’s the chance that they might have built some nests too, that could block the chimney.
- Check for any stains, inside or outside the chimney.
How much is a chimney sweep and inspection?
When winter arrives, one of the first things you need to do get your fireplace ready is an inspection. This will require for an inspector to go to the roof and look down the chimney, to see what’s going inside
The inspector will check the chimney’s structural integrity, the liner, the smoke chamber and the firebox. Like we mentioned before, there might be an extra fee for an inspection made with video. However, doing this can reveal come issues that otherwise would go missing, consequently increasing the risk of a fire or other issues.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, inspections are classified as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. This classification depends on what they include and how thorough they are.
Level 1 is included in the cost of the cleaning service. It is also included in the level 2 and 3 inspections.
A Level 2 inspection is done when you are going to do work on the chimney. Also, it’s required before you selling a house.
The chimney inspection cost includes the Level 1 inspections plus inspection of the roof, attic, and crawl space. It also comes with a video inspection, to check for any internal damages, and it runs between $150 and $250.
This type of inspection doesn’t require any special tools to open doors or coverings and it doesn’t include demolition of the chimney structure.
If there is the possibility of serious damage, you need a Level 3 inspection. It includes level 1&2 inspections and cleaning, as well as any repairs, tearing down and rebuilding of the chimney. It goes from $240 to $1,500.
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Chimney sweeping prices will depend on the type of chimney you have and the condition of it. A simple sweep, with a Level 1 inspections, usually runs between $125 and $250.
The cost of a chimney cleaning can go up if you have an accumulation of creosote and dead or living animals. If this is the case, it may require some special equipment or chemicals to properly do the cleaning.
Also, try to do the cleaning before the cols sets in. It will be easier both for the cleaner and you will be able to use the fireplace right away when you need it.
Check below how much does a chimney sweep costs, depending on the situation of your fireplace:
- Wood fireplaces that receive regular maintenance: $89 – $155
- A freestanding wood stove or pellet stove: $159 to $225
- Normal open fireplace with a single flue: $149 – $185
- Wood-burning masonry fireplace: $159 – $200 (note: having a HEPA-filter vacuum while doing this will ensure the air quality of the room.
- Wood fireplaces with neglect: $300 or more
- Chimney cleaning kits cost: $50.
Chimney sweeping costs also depend on the type of material the cleaner uses and how the job is performed. Shop vacuums and specialized brushes are the standard choices to remove soot and dust from the chimney and the fireplace.
The procedure can go in several ways. They can start from the top and then move up the chimney, do it in reverse or use a combination of both methods.
They need to cover the area around the fireplace with tarps or drop cloths to protect the house and the floor from the dust removed during the cleaning. Also, cleaning the fireplace is often included in the chimney cleaning.
When asking a professional how much does a chimney sweep costs, also ask about their rate type. There might be a fixed price for the job ($100-$300), or the charge can be by the hour, at the rate of $75 per hour.
When you are doing your research to find out how much does a sweep costs, remember to include some extra costs. They can be for various reasons:
- The type and number of flues;
- The amount of creosote accumulated;
- If any component needs to be pulled out, like the stove inserts and even the fireplace itself. This will ease access to the chimney.
- Lack of chimney cap (causes more dirt to accumulate, thus needs more work); The need to rebuild the chimney. This can be a result of a lot of bad mortar 1 joints.
- Roof with difficult access. If a tree is hanging over the chimney, it needs to be trimmed to avoid any future damage.
- Replacing a chimney liner;
- Remove animals from a chimney;
- Camera inspection.
Ending thoughts on how much a chimney sweep costs
As you could, it’s very important to maintain your chimney and fireplace in good condition. This will decrease the chances of a fire and prevent the need for rebuilt or renovation.
A chimney sweep and inspection can scale up to some high values. However, it’s an important measure for any homeowner who wishes to have its fireplace always in good condition and ready for the winter.
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