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!

When is the BEST time to get your chimney inspected and/or cleaned?

This is a common question, and the common assumption is to call for this service right before you are going to need to use the fireplace or wood stove – in the Fall.   One of the problems when trying to make an appointment, with a premier and well regarded chimney sweep company — in the Fall or Winter — is that you are competing with everyone else who is trying to get ready for “the season”.  Therefore, logically, (even though it goes against our procrastinating human nature) it makes sense that, if one wants more timely service, the sensible thing would be to opt to request the service when the demand is not so great.

Experience (36 years of it) has taught us that there is a definite difference in the number of requests we get in the Spring and Summer and the number we get in the Fall and Winter.  Therefore, we invite (even strongly encourage) our regular, repeat customers to call us at the END of the burning season instead of the beginning of the Winter season.   We would offer this same advice to everyone in the market for chimney inspection or sweeping.  

So…after you are sure you are not going to use your fireplace or woodstove any more for the year, just plan to go ahead and get it inspected and/or swept out.  There are several very good reasons to get it done in the Spring/Summer.  

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Reasons to call in SPRING instead of Fall

  • As already mentioned, a shorter wait time for an appointment
  • After the chimney is swept in the Spring, it will not get dirty again before it’s needed the next Fall/Winter.  It will be guaranteed ready for the cold AND those holiday or special family occasions.
  • Sweeping the creosote deposits from the chimney early may cut down on the bad smell that some folks experience during the summer months.
  • Lots of bad things can happen during the winter to a chimney.  For example:  Winter rains soak into a chimney and if the temperatures drop below freezing, the water in the bricks and mortar joints freezes and expands.  This can cause the brick or mortar joints to break or crack.  When this freeze/thaw action takes place over and over throughout the course of the winter, the damage can compound.  A Spring inspection will detect this kind of damage and you’ll have plenty of time (all Summer) to get things in order before the next Winter cycle begins.

We, here at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth, inspect, sweep and repair chimneys all year round, but Spring/Summer is admittedly a better time to do major repairs.  So accept our invitation to call us after you complete your last fire for this winter.  We will be pleased to get your chimney ready early for next year’s burning season.