What You Should Know Before You Hire a Chimney Sweeper
Average Prices, How Often it's Done & Hiring the Best Company
A chimney sweep is a professional who specializes in cleaning chimneys, particularly to remove soot and ash that pose a fire hazard. If you have a working fireplace and use it with any frequency, you should hire a chimney sweep at least once every few years.
Cost of Chimney Sweeping
Chimney cleanings usually cost $150 to $350. The price varies based on your geographic location and the difficulty of the job. A video inspection and sweep usually falls on the higher end of that range, starting at about $200.
Keep in mind that some companies have separate charges for inspections and cleanings.
You might pay $50 to $100 for the inspection (and considerably more for a video inspection), then another $150 for the actual cleaning.
About Chimney Sweeps
Chimney sweeps have been around for hundreds of years. Until the mid-to-late 19th century, young boys, often orphans, were brought on as apprentices to climb chimneys and clean them. The dangerous practice was eventually banned.
Modern chimney sweeps use a combination of basic cleaning brushes and more sophisticated tools such as vacuums and cameras to remove hazardous buildup of soot and creosote, a carbon residue. The job usually takes just an hour or two. A chimney sweep is also capable of repairing any damage to your fireplace or chimney. Services include chimney relining, waterproofing, masonry repair and firebox rebuilding.
If your fireplace is used often in the colder months - three or more times per week - you should hire a chimney sweep annually to prevent the buildup of soot and creosote from starting a fire. If you use the fireplace only once a week or so, every two or three years is enough. Anytime you start to notice a strong odor emanating from the fireplace, it’s time to call for service. That usually indicates a buildup of creosote.
Aside from fireplaces, chimney sweeps can often be hired to clean and maintain venting systems for all types of modern heating units, including those fueled by oil, natural gas, wood, pellets and coal. Many offer dryer vent cleaning, too.
Pricing for Related Services
- Dryer vent cleaning: $100 to $300
- Pellet/wood stove cleaning: $100 to $300
- Cleaning an oil or gas furnace flue: $150 to $250
- Rebuilding a firebox: $500 to $3,000
- Cleaning a fireplace insert: $150 to $300
- Replacing a chimney cap: $100 to $500
- Chimney waterproofing: $200 to $450
- Chimney crown repair: $100 to $400.
Choosing a Chimney Sweep
Seek multiple quotes before you hire anyone to do the work. Disregard any quotes that seem suspiciously high or low. Don’t settle for a verbal quote - ask for a detailed list of all charges in writing before hiring a chimney sweep.
Beware of companies that advertise an very low price for a chimney cleaning. Less-than-reputable companies might advertise a price of $30, then quickly add expenses to the job when they get in the door, claiming your chimney needs expensive repairs.
Also, beware of chimney sweeps who solicit by going door-to-door. They too tend to quote a low price upfront, then pressure you into more expensive repairs. If the company needs the work badly enough to knock on your door, there’s a good possibility they’re less than reputable.