Every home has at least one chimney through which their main source of central heating is conducted. Over time, they require cleaning just as a furnace or central air system requires a tune-up. In a central heating chimney, depending upon the type of heating, i.e., natural gas, forced hot air, or oil, a chimney should always be checked periodically (at least once every 3-4 years) for damage, soot or other residue that may cause blockage and which can lead to a chimney fire. The cost for cleaning is relatively inexpensive and the time involved in the actual cleaning less than an hour, if the chimney has had prior cleaning service. Most chimney sweeps charge an average of $150 to $200 for general cleaning. This should include a full inspection for damage or any other masonry problems.
Fireplace Chimneys differ in maintenance requirements from central heating chimneys. Fireplace chimney necessarily build up soot and residue as a result of burning of wood or coal, assuming it is a fireplace intended for use with natural wood. There are available cleaning services for natural gas stoves with stove pipe type flues that emit the exhaust outside.
For natural wood or coal burning fireplaces, it is necessary to have it cleaned regularly at the end of the last use or, before the first use from one season to the next. Soot and residue have a tendency to build up more quickly in these types of chimneys, especially if used regularly. The more a fire burns in a fireplace, the more the chimney requires cleaning.
As a rule of thumb, a chimney sweep will first perform a thorough inspection and offer his opinion of what type of cleaning is necessary. Usually, the sweep will note any damage to masonry on the interior and exterior of the chimney as well as to internal updraft vent. Generally, the sweep will use long brushes to send any soot down into the fireplace base. If a chimney cap is attached to your chimney, it may also be checked and cleaned. A clean fireplace will not emit any ash or old smoke odors after cleaning.
Most chimney sweeps are tidy and make certain they leave your fireplace sparkling clean. The cost for a natural wood or coal chimney cleaning is as reasonable as with most other types of chimneys. Regular maintenance of chimneys is a necessity. And, in some areas, a requirement to prevent chimney fires. It’s a lot less costly for chimney cleaning and maintenance than it is to replace a home destroyed by a chimney fire.