Quality Counts

Feb 6, 2023

There is a balance between price and quality of service.

If you Google How much is a chimney cleaning?, you will find a price range between $85 – $356 for a chimney cleaning. A survey conducted with 16,000 nationwide homeowners showed the average price for a chimney cleaning to be $241.

With such an expansive range it can be hard to determine which service to use. Should you opt for the cheapest price?

Price should be reviewed along with the quality of the service being provided. Here are some questions you can ask to ensure your search for the right fit will be fruitful:

  • What does a chimney cleaning consist of?
    Ideally the Sweep you hire should be cleaning from the top down and bottom up and preventing any soot from entering your home.
    Compare the answers you get from prospective companies and determine which is the best fit for you.

    We recommend at least an 8 step cleaning process with professional cleaning equipment that includes a cleaning from the top down and bottom up. For gas inserts the cleaning should include cleaning and maintenance per the manufacturers recommendations.

  • How long does the cleaning take?
    Typically a proper chimney cleaning takes about an hour if its done correctly, so make sure you arent bringing in a fast cleaner that doesnt get the full job done.
  • Does the company you are hiring have a codified series of steps that they use to train and apprentice each Sweep?
    We have seen instances where the Sweep did not clean from the top down but only cleaned the firebox and immediately reachable areas from inside the house. This leaves a layer of creosote in the upper levels of the chimney and could put your home at risk for a chimney fire.
  • Does the cleaning include a safety inspection?
    Sometimes cleaning is sold separately from inspections. Sometimes inspections are included. There is a point to note about this, which is that inspections done without cleaning can often miss damage in the chimney that cannot be seen unless the chimney is clean! Dont fall for a sloppy inspection that leaves things unseen. Correct safety inspections are important for the safe use of your chimney.
  • How long has your Sweep been in business? How many chimneys have they serviced?
    There is a big difference between a Sweep who has cleaned 100 chimneys and one who has cleaned 400 or more. Apprenticeship under an experienced Chimney Sweep is an important part of the training process.

Your chimney is a vital part of your home. It can bring warmth, ambience and comfort to your family. On the flip side, it can also be a fire and health hazard if its not cleaned and properly maintained. Make sure you hire a Chimney Sweep you can trust.

At Chimney Clean Company weve been cleaning, repairing and maintaining chimneys, fireplaces, gas inserts, wood inserts, electric inserts and free standing stoves for over 33 years. Weve serviced more than 50,000 chimneys and pride ourselves in maintaining long term relationships with homeowners in our area by conducting trustworthy, high-quality service on a regular maintenance schedule. Let us partner with you to ensure your chimney is safe and clean.

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.