Don’t sleep on hiring a professional chimney sweep
When it comes to your fireplace, a chimney sweep is as important as fuzzy slippers and a good book. These pros inspect, clean, and help maintain your fireplace so you can enjoy it safely and with peace of mind. Hiring a chimney sweep costs between $130 and $380, depending on the work they do. Let's take a closer look at the costs.
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What Factors Influence the Cost to Hire a Chimney Sweep?
While chimney sweep estimates fall within a common range for level-one inspections and basic cleanings, prices may vary slightly in one direction or the other based on your specific needs. Remember to get quotes from at least three pros, and check their online reviews.
The cost of chimney sweep services varies by your home’s location. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, such as New York City or California, you can expect your chimney sweep to cost more than the same service in a lower cost-of-living area.
Type of Fireplace or Stove
When budgeting for your chimney sweep, don’t forget to consider how your type of fireplace or stove will impact the price. For example, sweeping a regular open fireplace with a single flue will cost less than sweeping one with a double flue. When shopping around for price quotes from local chimney sweeps, mention the type of fireplace or stove to the company representative.
Gas fireplace maintenance: $80–$130
Pellet stove inspection and cleaning: $130–$200
Standard wood stove upkeep: $150–$300
Access to Your Chimney
How hard will it be for the chimney sweep to access your chimney? If the answer is pretty difficult, meaning your roof has a steep pitch or a high peak, you can expect to pay more for sweep services. Some chimney sweeps may charge more for the extra effort required to service a roof that’s in a dangerous condition or has a difficult-to-reach chimney.
Amount of Time Between Chimney Inspections
If you use your fireplace frequently but have been neglecting your annual cleanings, you can expect your next chimney sweep to cost more than expected. Layers of soot can build up in the fireplace if it’s not cleaned regularly, so chimney sweeps typically charge more for the additional time and effort it takes to remove the build-up.
Level of Inspection and Extra Services
The level of inspection required is a determining factor in the final cost of your bill. A level one chimney check-up or annual cleaning will likely cost $80 to $200, while a level three inspection may cost up to $5,000. Keep in mind that additional services, like installing a fireplace damper, will likely cost extra.
How Much Do Chimney Inspection Cost?
There are three levels of chimney sweep inspections. Some chimney sweeps charge an average of $65 an hour, while others offer a flat rate based on the inspection level. You may need a more extensive inspection when buying a home or getting ready to do construction, and you'll typically encounter three levels of chimney sweep inspections.
Every time you light a fire in the fireplace or woodstove, a small portion of the burnt wood doesn't quite make it out of the chimney. Over time, residue builds up into a combustible material called creosote—the leading cause of chimney fires.
On the most basic level, certified chimney sweeps will:
Inspect your chimney for creosote and other obstructions
Remove creosote and blockages with a wire brush
Check for structural issues
Many certified chimney sweeps list a level-one inspection as "free" when lumped in with the cost of a cleaning. However, you should still receive a free estimate before the sweep begins work. The cost breaks down by:
Beyond that, here’s what’s typically involved in each level of inspection:
Once you hire a chimney sweep near you a level-one inspection typically comes with your cleaning. This basic chimney checkup and cleaning runs between $80 and $200.
Order a level-two inspection when putting your home on the market. Chimney sweeps may also recommend it before completing chimney updates like refitting the liner or chimney cap. The pro will use a camera to inspect the chimney and surrounding areas—like your attic and roof—more thoroughly. Expect to pay $100 to $500 for a level-two inspection.
Let's say your chimney weathered a terrible storm or even a recent earthquake. If you're concerned about serious structural damage, a level-three inspection is your best bet. The work is incredibly detailed and runs from $1,000 to $5,000.
Additional Chimney Service Costs
Chimneys do need a little TLC over time, particularly in older homes. During your annual visit, chimney sweeps may recommend further repairs to keep your chimney running safely and efficiently. These are some of the most common additional services with their prices:
Installing or replacing a chimney cap: $150–$700
Replacing a flue/chimney liner: $1,600–$5,000
Adding or replacing chimney flashing: $200–$500
Repairing fireplace damper: $100–$225
Replacing fireplace damper: $200–$300
You may occasionally discover an animal trapped in your chimney. A chimney sweep can help free the critter for between $175 and $500.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Chimney Sweep Near You?
Like most home repairs and contractor costs, chimney sweep prices vary depending on where you live. In some cases, this is simply due to your local cost of living. Other factors—like an abundance of multi-chimney homes in your area—may increase the price. Regardless of where you live, you should make sure your chimney sweep is CSIA-certified.
Here's a look at common chimney sweep costs by various U.S. states:
New Jersey: $550
DIY vs Hiring a Pro
Chimney sweeps are highly trained and certified professionals. Their work can protect your home against chimney fires and carbon monoxide. In other words, you shouldn’t handle chimney inspections or cleanings on your own.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Chimney?
You can still do your part to keep your fireplace safe. The CSIA provides a thorough guide on choosing the right wood and burning it safely in your fireplace or woodstove.
For example, you can use creosote logs to loosen the buildup of dangerous residue inside your chimney throughout the year. Each log costs an average of $15 and can be used between professional cleanings. You can also act as the eyes and ears for your chimney sweep between cleanings by:
Visually inspecting the opening on your flue for creosote
Noting an influx of smoke in your home after lighting a fire
Keeping your carbon monoxide detector up to date
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several clear signs that it’s time to schedule a chimney sweep. If you see oily spots on your fireplace walls or you smell odors coming from your fireplace, you need a chimney sweep. Additionally, if you notice that your fires aren’t burning as strong as they typically do, that could indicate that you need to hire a chimney sweep.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your chimney inspected at least once a year. In most cases, the start of the season or right at the end of the summer is your best bet. If you light a fire every night from October to April, bring in a pro midway through the season to check for creosote buildup. You may also need a chimney inspected if you're selling or buying a home, detect an issue with your chimney, or recently had some extreme weather.
The service time for a standard chimney sweep is 45 minutes to an hour, making this a quick-and-easy service. However, if you have severe soot buildup or need your chimney pro to install new features, you can expect the service to take longer.
While it’s not the most glamorous task, cleaning your chimney is vitally important to the safety of your home. Neglecting chimney cleaning can cause a blockage and buildup of toxic gasses in your flue, which could lead to a dangerous chimney fire. That’s why it’s important to maintain your chimney and schedule annual cleanings from a professional.
While you're sprucing up the inside of the chimney, why not get those design wheels turning for the outside as well? Consider switching up your fireplace and mantlepiece design, for example. Working with a gas stove? How about a new fireplace mounting option to play with the balance of a room. You can even add a ventless fireplace to your bedroom for maximum coziness.