Dear PoP – Chimney Sweep?

Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

“Dear PoP,

I’m wondering if any of your readers have recommendations on a chimney sweep. We’ve never used ours, and I don’t know whether it’s been kept up or not (renting, and the landlord didn’t have it checked when she bought the house a few years ago). So I need someone to tell us if it’s in okay shape, but we’d rather not spend a ton of money — we’re not going to pay to have it fixed if that’s what needs to happen.”

Crap, I used somebody good a couple of years ago but have no idea who it was. Dang. By the by, how often should one have their chimney swept? Any good recs?

19 Comment

  • i dont have a lot of experiences with various cleaners, but i’ve used Priddy Cleaners and have been happy with them.

  • I second Priddy Clean. They capped my chimney to save me from a raccoon invasion. They clean it every other year.

  • I like Dick Van Dyke quite a lot, personally. You may have to fly him in (possibly by umbrella) from London, though. Bonus: he’d create some awesome sidewalk chalk drawings for you.

  • This question brings to mind good NYTimes piece for any home dwellers: “Avoid Fly-by-Night Cleaners by Making a Phone Call First”

    Apparently chimney cleaning, air duct cleaning and a number of other home services are rife scam artists.

    Finding a service provider with a high number positive Angie’s list reviews is well worth the extra investigation effort.

  • Priddy Clean and High’s have good reputations and usually run specials. Do it soon before everyone starts thinking about cold weather and you’ll probably get a better deal. Somewhere around $80-$150 depending on type of chimney. The question of frequency is highly dependent on how often you use the fireplace–could be every year, could be every 3 years….or more!

  • The chimney safety institute recommends a level 2 chimney inspection if there is not a documented maintenance history of the fire place and chimney. A level 2 inspection requires videotaping the flue to determine if there are any cracks or separations. If there are, it’s going to be expensive to repair. If you use a chimney with cracks there’s a risk of smoke or an ember getting into the wall, which could start a fire. Check for certified companies.

    • i’m surprised that the trade organization doesn’t also recommend getting gold-lining installed too every third year.

    • How often would you say there are problems with a chimney? I’d assume this one has not been maintained in say, the last 10 years (at most). Does that mean it’s likely cracked?

      I ask because I’m not interested in doing expensive repairs, and I’d hate to drop $200 for nothing.

      • ah

        You’re dropping $200 to find out if you can use it. You can decide whether it’s worth fixing after that.

        Not being maintained doesn’t mean it’s cracked, just possibly has built up soot/creosote.

  • I HIGHLY recommend Roof Top Chimney Sweeps. It is a small family-run business (started by a couple of brothers in the 70’s, now mainly one of those brothers & his two sons, grandmother answers their phone) & they are always straight with you & usually come out with the best price & always top-notch work. They have come in after other companies claim you need x, y, & z, & said that x & y are actually not worth the money & not even necessary. They have also come in & fixed what other companies have screwed up for less money!

  • Our chimney is a mess, but we’re going to convert it to gas and insert a metal flue inside the old chimney. Ours was never a wood chimney anyway; likely coal.

  • the chimney cleaners are air duct cleaners. it gives us help in the family and the environment health safety. so its good to use the chimeny cleaners.

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