Company Blog

Knowing What to Ask When Choosing a Chimney Sweep

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned and inspected recently, don’t worry – there is still time.  Today’s post is going to provide some basic information about common problems, levels of inspection and choosing the best sweep.  The chimney sweep you ultimately hire to partner with you to maintain your chimney, if chosen wisely, can usually answer any questions you may have.  Here’s a few that come to mind.

Why do you need a chimney sweep?

Even if you don’t use your chimney regularly, unexpected things can happen.  One way to look at this question is to consider what could happen if your chimney goes unattended.

  • Creosote is released during the burning of the firewood, can collect on the interior of your chimney and may cause blockages. Creosote buildup can lead to draft problems and/or chimney fires.
  • Draft problems, if associated with gas fuel, can contribute to dangerous carbon monoxide entering the home.
  • Uncovered chimneys can provide attractive shelter for nesting animals.
  • If excessive water absorption is an issue, leaving it unaddressed can result in a shortening of the life of the chimney structure.

Levels of Inspection

There are different levels of inspection, and they have different purposes.  When interviewing a prospective chimney sweep company, ask to make sure their technicians now how to perform these inspections as they are defined by the National Fire Protection Association.

  • A level one inspection is the most basic inspection.  This inspection is most often called for with annual maintenance.
  • A level two inspection is what you will have done if the technician sees issues while doing a level 1 that indicate a video scan should be performed.  It will also be recommended if there have been any changes in the way your chimney is being used (change of fuel or appliance), if the chimney is new to you, or if the house is being bought or sold.
  • The third level is what will need to be done if diagnostic measures require any part of the chimney to be deconstructed.

Questions to Ask when Choosing.

How do you make sure you are getting trained professional who will do the job right.  Here are some things you might ask.

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What kind of training do employees get?
  • Does the company have any testimonials or reviews?
  • What have neighbors or co-workers heard about the company?
  • If there are any negative comments or reviews on the internet, how were these handled publicly?
  • Ask if the company has any business liability insurance.
  • Are they a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep?  The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the only nationally recognized certification organization for chimney sweeps.

Getting Ready

There is really nothing you have to worry about that is chimney specific when preparing for a visit from a qualified professional chimney sweep except

  • Do not burn a fire for at least 24 hours before the sweep appointment.  This will assure that it the fireplace is cool enough to work in.
  • Remove valuable breakable objects from the mantle and hearth areas.
  • Restrain pets so they cannot interfere or get hurt during the process.

An informed customer is a customer better able to make decisions about his or her home. Here at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth, we want you to feel confident about your sweep, the services you desire and knowing the job was done well. Call us today to schedule your annual inspection.  To schedule your appointment call Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth today to speak with our friendly folks in customer service!


See what to expect when your chimney is inspected by Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth

A functioning fireplace is one of the highlights of the Winter Season.  It is where you can share warm hugs, kisses and gather for special events with your loved ones.   Along with all this wonderfulness comes the responsibility for managing the risk of having your house damaged or burned to the ground or worse yet someone in your family being hurt.  It is important to have it inspected regularly to avoid accidents that could interfere with the fireplace “warm-fuzzies”.

Your CSIA certified and well trained technician will know, upon conducting your basic Level 1 inspection, whether or not additional inspection and/or sweeping is needed. The inspection process could involve putting a camera inside your chimney.  Your technician will recommend the appropriate level of inspection needed for your circumstances.

Safety in Your Home

Risk-of-use (safety) must always come first in every home.  Taking for granted that all is working properly just because the smoke is not coming back down the chimney and burning your eyes, could be a costly mistake.   Homeowners do well to verify that their fireplaces/chimneys are performing as it is assumed they are.  Chimney malfunction can be costly at best (if there is property damage), and deadly at the worst (if there is a home fire or carbon monoxide intrusion).

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 24,500 residential fires happened in 2005 and were caused by chimney fires.  These fires resulted in a death toll of 20 and over one hundred million dollars in property loss.  It takes experts in the field of chimney inspection and evaluation to help change these statistics.

Levels of Chimney Inspection

There are three levels for Chimney Inspections.  The National Fire Protection association has indicated the circumstances that would require each level of inspection.  Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth adheres to the inspection standard that is outlined in NFPA Standard 211.

We have recently discussed the different levels of inspection in a blog posted here.  We invite you to review the information.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth technicians are well-trained and prepared to inspect and evaluate your chimney for any issues related to risk-of-use, performance or general maintenance.  At the end of the inspection process, you will receive a condition report noting any issues found and recommendations for resolution of any noted issues.  Call today!