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Sweeping

 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that all chimneys be at least inspected once a year.  Lots of things can happen, besides sooty buildup:

  1. Animals can get inside chimneys and get stuck or build nests.
  2. Masonry  deterioration can result in brick collapse and a blocked or poorly  drafting flue; or masonry debris can drift downward and gradually mount  up to and close off the lowest thimble hole.
  3. Processes  of deterioration can reach a point where they are suddenly evident and  threatening.  This requires early warning regarding unsafe conditions,  important repairs and preventative measures needed.  Regular inspections  can solve this problem and alert you as a homeowner before bad things  happen!
  4. Regular inspections are required to maintain warranties!

Our  sweep staff are experienced, carefully trained and certified by the  Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  They have a wide range of  chimney know-how or can put you in touch with other staff specialists  for complicated or extreme situations.  They are happy to explain their  findings and recommendations and summarize what they have done at your  house — with a smile and without rushing you.  Don't hesitate to express  any of your questions or concerns to them!

A  chimney cleaning usually results also in a thorough evaluation of all  the key facets of your chimney, including use of a 38 point checklist,  and photographs to show you what conditions at the top are like (we  usually go on the roof to complete our evaluation, unless access is too  difficult, the weather is horrible or if you prefer that we don't.  We  are well insured, of course!).  The checklist will be discussed with  you, and you will be asked to sign it to acknowledge that you understand  our basic findings.  Specific recommendations may be noted on the  checklist and/or on a separate estimate form, usually with expected  costs for each repair or upgrade.  A video camera can be used to verify  or clarify observed damages.  Videoscanning may cost extra, but is  routinely included in the cost of cleaning flues serving wood-fired  appliances.  

Variable Costs

Most  chimney cleanings cost our standard $225.00 per flue, with additional  flues on the same chimney at $175.00 per flue, and a $25.00 discount  during our spring and summer promotional period.  Ask your sweep about  these discounts if he/she doesn't include them in your billing.   Woodstoves or wood inserts in fireplaces may cost much more if not lined  to the top with a stove appropriate liner $350-$450.00.

Techniques

Standard  sweeping techniques will utilize brushes of varying sizes and stiffness  mounted on detachable rods or a long spool — fiberglass or  polypropylene.  In addition, stubborn glaze or odd flue configurations  may require motorized rotary equipment, including plastic whips and  steel chains.  Severe glaze may require a major "rotokleen", with  additional charges applying.

Your  sweep may also recommend the use of chemical additives to your fires to  soften severe glazed creosote deposits caused by your woodstove or  fireplace — along with some tips that might be helpful for promoting  cleaner burning.  An inexpensive magnetic thermometer often plays a key  role also in improving burning patterns with woodstoves.  Our sweeps  have thermometers and appropriate, easy-to-apply chemicals.


 

Protection

We  will use dropcloths, rugs, vacuum systems, and roof ladders as needed  and we'll sweep up well.  We'll be careful of your yard and roof.

When to Sweep
We highly recommend late spring and early summer, for our sake and yours!

  1. Discount rates apply.
  2. We are less busy and it's easier for you to get a convenient time more to your choice.
  3. Creosote  and sooty deposits often smell in damp summer air; and the longer such  damp deposits stay in your chimney, the more acid deterioration takes  place.
  4. The weather is more friendly for servicing your chimney.
  5. Our  various staff, being less jammed schedule-wise, can accommodate your  repair needs more quickly before the weather turns to winter.
  6. The odds of catching us dancing on your roof are much greater!


 Being Your Own Sweep We  encourage people who want to do their own inspections and sweeping!  We  are glad to advise you in general, and specifically help you procure  any tools you might need, like an inspection mirror and brushes and  rods.  We still recommend that you enlist us from time-to-time to give  you a little professional "double-check"!