Having a fireplace is very beneficial and enjoyable. It's a cheap way of heating your home while also looking and smelling great. Proper maintenance of your fireplace and chimney is essential for ensuring that they stay in good condition for many years, and one of the most important aspects of maintenance is chimney sweeping.
Health and Safety Benefits
When using a fireplace or a wood stove, ash and carbon residue build up in the chimney. No matter how frequently you use your wood stove or fireplace, you will need to have your chimney swept at some point in time because it is a terrible health and safety hazard in your home. Dirty chimneys can actually cause sudden house fires since the residue is highly flammable. In addition, chimney fires burn hotter than your average house fire, and they tend to spread faster as well.
Chimneys are more than just air vents meant to keep smoke out. They're also meant to air out the harmful carbon monoxide from the fires. A plugged chimney can easily cause carbon monoxide to build up within the home. Since carbon monoxide is colorless, invisible, tasteless and scentless, it's incredibly easy to have carbon monoxide buildup in the home without anyone noticing.
Regular chimney sweeps also allow you to save money. If you allow your chimney to go prolonged periods of time without inspections or cleaning, the excess buildup can actually cause your bill to be much higher than it would if you did it regularly. In addition, chimney sweeps check your chimney and fireplace or wood stove for signs of issues and damage that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
How Much Does Chimney Sweeping Cost?
A regular chimney sweep costs between $100 and $300 if there are no additional fees. A chimney inspection for damage and needed replacement parts can cost somewhere between $45 and $85.
In addition to the costs of regular cleaning or inspections, there are also several variables that could increase the cost.
It can sometimes be difficult to figure out just how often you should get your chimney swept. Fire officials suggest that most fireplace or wood stove users should get their chimney swept at least once every year. Another schedule to go by is wood usage. Your chimney should be swept every time that you burn through one cord of wood.
If you use your fireplace or wood stove four or more times a week, it is best to get your chimney swept at least once a year. If you use your fireplace or wood stove regularly and burn green wood, you should consider having it done twice a year.
For those who use their fireplaces and wood stoves less regularly such as once or twice a week during the winter and fall months, you can likely get away with a sweeping once every two years.
Having a regular sweeping schedule for your chimney prevents hard buildup of ash and carbon residue, which can actually increase your sweeping bill in addition to causing a severe safety hazard. This is an especially important note to those who pass on getting chimney sweeps done regularly to save money. If the chimney cleaning prices increase dramatically due to high amounts of buildup, you're not saving any money.
Some chimney sweeps use cameras while cleaning or during inspections to check for additional residue and damages. The cost of using these cameras varies greatly, and the additional chimney cleaning prices could be anywhere between $10 and $300.
Steepness of Your Roof
Chimney sweeping occurs both inside and outside of the home in order to ensure that the chimney is as clean as possible. This requires the chimney sweep to be on the roof at some point in the cleaning process. Having a particularly high or steep roof that is difficult or dangerous to access can cause the chimney sweep costs to rise. It's also a good idea to speak with the chimney sweep before setting up an appointment to see if your roof steepness or height is a problem for them.
Necessary Repairs or Part Replacement
While some damage is purely cosmetic, some damages or faulty parts can make your fireplace or wood stove dangerous to operate. You will need to either get these damages repaired right there during the cleaning process or as soon as possible. Costs of damage repair or replacement parts varies greatly depending on the severity of the damage or the condition of the part, but the more severe damages and parts can cost well over $1000. For example, a new chimney cap is a relatively simple part replacement that costs about $100 to $200, but a new chimney liner can cost upwards of $2000. If your chimney sweep notices spots of minor damage or a failing part, it's best to get it taken care of immediately to possibly avoid larger repair fees in the future.