What to Know Before Hiring a Chimney Sweep

Updated December 29, 2021
 A luxurious interior design living room and fireplace
Photo: slavun / Adobe Stock

 Hear that? It’s the calming crackle of a safe fireplace.

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There’s nothing quite as relaxing as snuggling up in front of a warm fire on a cold winter night. But without proper care, your cozy fireplace and picturesque chimney can pose a significant risk to your household. Hiring a chimney sweep to service your fireplace can protect your house. Unfortunately, chimney sweep scammers do exist.

The good news is that there are ways to tell a potential scammer from a reputable professional. Here’s what you need to know before hiring a chimney sweep.

Why Hire a Chimney Sweep?

Keeping your chimney and fireplaces clean and in good working order isn’t just important for their performance—it’s also an invaluable safety measure. As many as 27,000 house fires are caused each year by malfunctioning or improperly maintained chimneys and fireplaces.

There are some fireplace maintenance best practices you should adopt early on, such as ensuring that you routinely clean and dust all accessible areas, that you maintain your chimney crown to help keep your chimney free of airborne debris, and that you only burn the appropriate materials for your particular system.

But it doesn’t end there. To maximize performance and minimize the risk of both costly repairs and potential fire hazards, you should have your fireplace routinely inspected and serviced by a professional chimney sweep, preferably one who has been certified by the Chimney Sweep Institute of America (CSIA). Ideally, you’ll order a professional inspection and cleaning every one to two years. 

5 Questions to Ask a Chimney Sweep

Chimney sweep with stovepipe hat upon the roof
Photo: gabort / Adobe Stock

Here are five questions you can ask a chimney sweep before hiring them to care for your fireplace: 

  1. How long have you been in business?

  2. Can you offer up-to-date references?

  3. Does your company have unresolved complaints?

  4. Does your company carry valid business liability insurance?

  5. Can you ensure that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site?

Be Wary of Chimney Sweep Scams

Chimney Video Scanning

A good chimney pro should offer video scanning of your chimney as part of the service. Video allows you to see what they are seeing, so when they tell you there is a problem, you can rest assured they are being truthful.   

Know Typical Chimney Sweep Costs

It’s also important to be wary of inflated chimney repair prices, not only because that can cause you to be cheated out of your hard-earned money but also because it is a tell-tale sign of someone not to be trusted with the safety of your home. Hiring a chimney sweep costs between $130 and $380 depending on the level of inspection and additional repair work. Most homeowners pay an average of $250 for a chimney sweep service.

 Chimney sweeps help keep your home safe from fireplace hazards, which is why it’s important to find a pro who invests in the proper tools, equipment and training. 

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