Chimney Sweeping

The best way to schedule service is with our online service form. If you have some questions not addressed in our Frequently Asked Questions pages, and would like a call back, indicate so in the form and someone will call you back as soon as possible, usually within one business day.

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What should I know about chimney sweeping?

Are your sweeps certified professionally?

Absolutely! All of Wooden Sun’s sweeps are certified certified by the National Fireplace Institute and/or the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). We are also members of the National Fire Prevention Association, the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, and the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Our sweeps regularly attend seminars put on by these professional organizations. Keeping our sweeps up to date with the latest information provides better value for our customers and ensures that the safest best practices are being utilized. Education for excellence is a company value of Wooden Sun! Learn more from the CSIA about how to hire a chimney sweep.

How often should I sweep my chimney?

How often depends on several factors: see our glossary of terms/more information page for a breakdown of these factors.

Generally we recommend wood stove wood stove inserts and high efficiency fireplaces be swept and inspected annually if they are used on a daily basis. Open fireplaces can generally be swept once every two or three years. If we have not swept your chimney before, we will recommend an interval based upon information gathered on site.

How much is a chimney sweep?

Please see our pricing page for our chimney cleaning rates.

A masonry chimney must be lined with either:

  • Terra cotta flue tiles,
  • a full stainless steel flue liner, or liner composed of heavy duty flexible stainless steel pipe, or
  • a poured ceramic liner composed of high-temperature concrete poured in place inside a masonry flue.

A chimney can also be a “Class A” high temperature metal chimney or an air-cooled chimney, a double- or triple-walled metal chimney with air gaps between the walls.

How does Wooden Sun sweep a chimney, and what does it involve?

We prefer to sweep the chimney from the top down; this allows us to perform an inspection and it is also easier to contain the mess. We also remove the damper, and clean the firebox and smoke chamber. We make sure that no mess gets into your house, and we always leave the place as clean as when we started (and sometimes cleaner!).

Can you sweep an unlined masonry chimney?

No. Chimneys built before 1940 are often raw brick (without terracotta liners). Unlined masonry chimneys do not meet code and are not safe to use. They cannot be swept, but we can work with you to bring your chimney up to code.

Are there any extra fees if the chimney is tall or difficult to access?

There can be. If a chimney is particularly tall, and/or the roof is particularly steep or difficult to access (e.g. slate shingles), then safety equipment or scaffolding — or in rare cases a man lift — may be required. We always try to sweep chimneys in the most cost efficient and effective manner, but sometimes safety equipment or scaffolding fees may apply. The minimum safety equipment fee is $50, when necessary.

Do you charge for mileage?

Only if your home is more than 20 miles from our shop. For locations more than 20 miles from our showroom, we do apply a nominal trip charge to cover vehicle expenses and travel time. Please see our service pricing page for more details. Neighbors can schedule sweeps together to split the charge (although due to limited office staffing, we do request that you and your neighbors coordinate that with one another).

What is a rotary sweep and how much does it cost?

Sometimes third degree creosote (a black, shiny, tarry, and highly flammable coating on the flue tiles) cannot be removed with a regular chimney brush. It requires a device that rotates chains rapidly to break up the glazed creosote. While this process does not harm tiles in good condition, it can cause previously damaged liners to separate. Rotary sweeps are generally necessary for third-degree creosote and/or direct connect installations. Our staff will be happy to discuss your specific questions, so just give us a call. And check out our glossary of terms page for more information.

How do I know if my woodstove or fireplace is a standard installation, or if I’ll need a rotary sweep?

A standard sweep would apply to almost all woodburning fireplaces, and woodstoves installed with either a full stainless steel liner (all the way to the top of the chimney) inside a masonry chimney, an insulated metal chimney, or a thimble into a properly sized terra cotta lined masonry chimney. How to determine if the flue is properly sized for the stove.

My insert or woodstove isn’t installed either of those ways you described – it just sits in the fireplace with no pipe coming out at all. Why didn’t you mention this type of installation?

That kind of installation is referred to by fireplace professionals as a “slammer,” and it does not meet building code. We cannot work on installations that are in violation of code. We’d be happy to work with you to bring it up to NFI standards.

I don’t need a sweep, just an inspection. How much do you charge for that?

For an inspection, the chimney needs to be very clean in order to see if there are cracks or damage. If your chimney is clean enough, we can do an inspection without sweeping it. In most cases we bill inspections as regular service calls. Please see our pricing page for our rates for service calls.

What kind of inspections do you offer?

We offer three inspections: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

  1. A level 1 is a full visual inspection of the entire chimney system, from top to bottom.
  2. A level 2 is a video inspection, where we send a special camera down your chimney to take images of the inside.
  3. A level 3 inspection involves taking apart the chimney to look at the inside. This work is done on an hourly basis.

If you are not sure what kind of inspection you need, please call us at 434-760-8659 and we can help you figure it out. Please see our pricing page for our rates for different inspection levels.

What is your lead time on sweeps?

February through September, our lead time is usually about two weeks. During the busy autumn and winter season, October through January, lead times can be as much as 4-5 weeks. We recommend having your chimney swept or fireplace serviced in the spring or summer, so it will always be ready to use when it gets cold.

If it rains, sleets, or snows, can you still sweep my chimney?

In most cases, no. Because we need to get on your roof to clean and inspect your chimney, it is generally too dangerous. If we determine that we cannot sweep your chimney that day, we will call you to reschedule.

 

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