How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Chimney?
Having a fireplace in the home can be a wonderful addition during a chilly winter, and it can even be a way to substantially cut down on traditional heating costs. However, homeowners have to take on the responsibility of keeping their chimneys clean. Without properly cleaned chimneys, fires can damage property, become a risk to residents and even reroute smoke back into the home. While it is possible to clean your chimney on your own, hiring a professional ensures that it is done correctly and that all creosote, a flammable material, is removed from the flue. Use this guide to learn more about the various factors that can influence the cost of professional chimney cleaning services.
National Clean Chimney Costs
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Average Costs of Chimney Cleaning Services
It is important for homeowners to understand that the cost of chimney cleaning services can change from home to home and even from town to town, so any guidelines should be used as estimates. However, most professional chimney cleaners will charge anywhere from $220 to $298 for the job, which should include cleaning both the inside and outside of the home. The service takes between two and three hours to complete.
Factors That Influence Total Costs
There are several different reasons that the price of chimney cleaning can vary beyond simply the rates of various companies. Size, of course, plays a significant role, with larger chimneys costing more to clean. Another big factor is the height and steepness of the home's roof. Since chimney cleaning involves standing on the roof to clean inside the chimney from the top down, a roof with a steep pitch adds risk and safety hazards to the job. Finally, how long you wait in between cleaning jobs will also play a role in the size and cost of the project.
How Often Should Chimneys Be Cleaned?
If you use your chimney several times each week, then having it cleaned yearly is a smart idea. Hiring a professional in the fall ensures that your chimney is safe and effective during the colder winter months. If it has been several years since the chimney has been cleaned, immediate professional assistance is best.
DIY Chimney Cleaning
The following steps should be taken before you start cleaning your fireplace and chimney:
- Go outside and see if there are any chips in the chimney. Here are some quick tips for locating and fixing chimney chips or leaks.
- Make sure the top of the chimney is clear of any nests and other debris.
- If you have an attic, make sure there are no holes or leaks leading to the chimney.
- Inside, make sure there are no water stains near the chimney.
- Make sure the fireplace damper and cap opens and closes smoothly.
- Make sure there are no gas leaks anywhere around the fireplace
- Put your head in the fireplace (while it is not lit obviously) and take a good whiff. If you smell anything out of the ordinary, you could have a carbon monoxide or soot problem.
- Place a nonflammable rug in front of the fireplace. If ashes start to fly out, it's better to be safe than sorry.
- Make sure chimney is working properly with the following test: Take several sheets of newspaper and roll them up. With the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn't, you have an issue and should contact a chimney professional immediately.
DIY Fireplace Cleaning
Now we are ready to get dirty. The following steps should be taken during the winter to ensure your fireplace remains clean and efficient throughout the season.
Note: Many of these recommendations refer to wood-burning fireplaces as they require the most maintenance. However, we will point out items that electric or gas fireplace owners need to be aware of.
- Many suggest that you clean out your firebox weekly, but we highly recommend a cleaning three days after every use.
- Do NOT clean a fireplace right after you put it out. Coals and ashes can remain hot for up to 72 hours. Do not remove any contents from the fireplace earlier than that.
- Make sure damper is open during the cleaning process.
- You should remove a large majority of the ash, but you may leave some in the fire pit to act as an insulator.
- Do not mix removed ash with any combustible materials. Some recommend pouring water over the ash to ensure no flames are still lit.
- Clean the fireplace glass with vinegar and warm water. Remember to wait until glass is completely cool.
- Electric Fireplace: Change the light bulb every two years.
- Electric Fireplace: While there is no ash, there will be dust in and around your fireplace. Just like the area around a stove, you should remove all surrounding dust or dirt as often as possible.
- Electric Fireplace: Do not overburden your outlets around the electric fireplace.
A little dirty work never hurt anyone. Make sure you keep your fireplace in the best possible shape by following these simple steps.
Last updated on May 19, 2016
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