Do you really need a Chimney Sweep?
If a scene from Disney's 'Mary Poppins' is what comes to mind when you think if hiring a chimney sweep, think again. Today's chimney sweeps come packed with new technology for old problems.
Experts say you'll want to hire a certified company at least once a year to clean your chimney. An inspection and cleaning can cost you more than $200. That price tag might have you wondering, 'Is it worth it?'
According to the National Fire Protection Associate, dirty chimneys are a leading cause of structure fires. A 2016 report from the NFPA shows home heating equipment accounted for 19 percent of home fire deaths between 2009 and 2013. Thirty percent of those fires came from failure to clean equipment, like chimneys.
Brent Spraker, a product manager at PEMCO Insurance, told Q13, the main culprit is creosote.
"Creosote is the build up you get in a chimney from burning wood specifically," Spraker said. "It's a black tar-like residue and if that builds up and isn't cleaned, that can be a fire hazard." Even if you're burning coal it's a good idea to clean the chimney every season to clear any fly-ash or other debris that might accumulate throughout the year.
Trying to avoid the costs of hiring a certified chimney sweep by doing it yourself could be costly, too, if it's not done correctly. You need to know what you're looking for. You can't just eyeball the chimney liner and say looks in good shape and appears clean enough. There may be things hidden halfway that you can't see without a proper inspection like cracks, chips, debris or birds nests.
The price tag might seem steep but you get peace of mind. So yes hiring a chimney sweep once a year is worth it.
If you do something proactive that can help prevent a loss, that's a good thing. You have peace of mind that your house is safe, your family is safe, and you know Santa isn't going to get dirty when he comes down the chimney.
Most of our liners here at Cheap Chimney have a Forever Warranty, one of the only conditions to maintaining this warranty is a sweeping every 18 months by a certified chimney sweep. Always seek the services of a chimney sweep who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. You can find a CSIA certified chimney sweep using a zip code finder at CSIA.org.