By Gene and Katie Hamilton
If you enjoy a crackling fire in your fireplace, don't forget that the chimney needs routine inspection and cleaning. Have an annual chimney inspection to prevent a chimney fire and to make sure carbon monoxide isn't leaking into your home. Routine inspection by a professional will alert you to blockages that can cause smoke problems. Cleaning will remove the buildup of creosote, a smoke residue that condenses and hardens on the inner walls of the chimney flue. Yearly inspection and cleaning are the best way to keep your home and family out of harm's way.
To find a chimney sweep go to www.ncsg.org, the Web site of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, where you can find a certified professional in your area. Or click
a free referral service that connects homeowners with local contractors. Type "clean a chimney" in their Find Pros search box.
A chimney sweep will charge about $225 to clean the chimney of a one-story house, which includes the labor and material. Or it may cost more depending on the height of the chimney, the extent of build up in the chimney, and complicating conditions such as a fireplace insert or oddly shaped flue. If you don't mind working on the roof, you can buy a chimney brush and rods for about $75 and do the job yourself, pocketing a 66 percent saving. You'll need a shop vacuum, some drop cloths to protect the hearth and surrounding furnishings, and an extension ladder. As the chimney is being cleaned up at the roof, tiny ash particles can filter down into the hearth and be blown around the room. Even worse, a large chunk of debris or a dead animal can drop down into the hearth.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to clean a chimney you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020