DIY vs. Professional Chimney Cleaning

Apr 24, 2024

Chimneys play an integral role in our homes, ensuring proper ventilation and the safe expulsion of smoke from our fireplaces. Over time, however, they can accumulate soot, debris, and even creosote—a highly flammable substance—posing potential hazards. This brings us to an important decision point: should you tackle chimney cleaning yourself or hire a professional?

Let’s explore the key differences between DIY and professional chimney cleaning to help you make an informed decision.

Expertise and Experience

While cleaning your chimney yourself may seem straightforward, it requires a certain level of expertise. You need to understand the structure of the chimney, safety protocols, and effective cleaning techniques

Chimney sweep professionals undergo extensive training and certification to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to clean chimneys safely and effectively. They have hands-on experience dealing with various types of chimneys and cleaning challenges.

Equipment and Tools

Many homeowners opt for DIY chimney cleaning kits available in hardware stores. These kits typically include a brush, rods, and possibly a vacuum attachment. However, the effectiveness of these tools may vary, and improper use can lead to incomplete cleaning or damage to your home.

On the other hand, professionals use specialized equipment tailored to the specific requirements of chimney cleaning. They have access to high-quality brushes, vacuums, and inspection cameras to ensure thorough cleaning without causing any harm to the chimney structure.

Safety Measures

Safety should be a top priority when attempting home maintenance, especially chimney cleaning. DIY enthusiasts must invest in protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a dust mask. Additionally, practicing ladder safety is very important when accessing the roof. Different types of roofing requires knowledge so that roof tiles or shingles and any solar panels are not damaged by walking on the roof. Professional technicians also wear specialized shoes that make it safer and easier to walk on roofs without slipping.

Certified chimney sweeps are well-versed in safety protocols and adhere to industry standards during every cleaning job. They come prepared with the necessary safety equipment and take precautions to prevent accidents or injuries.

Thoroughness of Cleaning

While DIY chimney cleaning can save money, it may not always deliver the same level of thoroughness as professional cleaning. Without proper training and equipment, there’s a risk of leaving behind soot, debris, or even dangerous creosote buildup. Not only that, but an inexpert job and result in the soot blowing right into the home leaving a layer of creosote dust all over the room.

Hiring a chimney sweep ensures a comprehensive cleaning process standardly cleans the chimney for safe use. Professionals use specialized techniques to dislodge stubborn deposits and ensure optimal airflow and safety.  It’s important to hire a company that has a “no soot guarantee” so that your home will remain free of soot.

Detection of Issues

During DIY chimney cleaning, homeowners may overlook underlying issues such as cracks, leaks, or structural damage. Failure to identify these problems early on can lead to costly repairs or unnecessary safety issues..

One of the advantages of hiring an expert is their ability to conduct thorough inspections as part of the cleaning process. They can identify potential issues early on and recommend necessary repairs or maintenance.

Final Thoughts

While DIY chimney cleaning may seem like a cost-effective option, it comes with its own set of challenges and risks. Hiring a professional chimney sweep ensures a thorough and safe cleaning process and provides peace of mind knowing that your chimney is in good hands. So, investing in professional cleaning and inspection is a wise decision for your home’s long-term safety.

Ready to ensure the safety and efficiency of your chimney? Trust Chimney Clean Company, Inc., to deliver professional cleaning services tailored to your needs. With our certified chimney sweeps and specialized equipment, we guarantee a thorough cleaning process, leaving your chimney in top condition. Don’t compromise on safety—schedule your chimney cleaning with us today and enjoy peace of mind all year round. 

Smoking back

There are many fireplaces that seem to smoke back into the house no matter what is done. In our experience, the most common cause is that the fireplace simply needs to be cleaned. This is especially likely if the fireplace has gotten worse over time, that is, the smoking back is worse now than it used to be.

Several other possible causes of smoking back are problems with the damper, chimney cap, grate, firewood, or structural problems with the chimney itself. At Chimney Clean Company, we do a full inspection with every cleaning, or we can also do just the inspection if the chimney doesn’t need to be cleaned. This inspection is designed to reveal any causes of smoking back.

Broken chimneys

In the Bay Area, many chimneys were broken in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Usually, these chimneys are broken at or near the roof line, although sometimes they can be broken further down, even at the ground level.

We are fully licensed masonry contractors. We rebuild broken chimneys. If they are broken at the roof line, this usually entails taking the chimney part of the way down brick by brick, installing steel reinforcing bars, getting an inspection from a city inspector, then rebuilding the chimney back up around the steel rebar.

Missing mortar or damaged bricks

Over time, many chimneys develop places that are missing mortar between bricks, or damaged bricks, either inside the firebox or on the outside of the chimney. These areas can usually be repaired, either by replacing the missing mortar or replacing the bricks themselves. Items such as these can be dangerous because they can allow flames, sparks or hot gases to enter the structure of the house.

Water entry

Sometimes the metal that seals the chimney at the roof, called “flashing”, will come loose or develop leaks. In this case, water sometimes comes into the ceiling of the room and causes water spots and stains on the sheet rock. This flashing should be repaired before the water causes more damage.