DIY Chimney Sweeping Vs Hiring a Professional
Homeowners may be tempted to tackle chimney sweeping themselves. However, professional chimney sweeps possess all of the tools required for this task, including protective equipment and rooftop access.
Chimney sweeps are equipped with various brush rods, cleaning chemicals and cameras in their arsenal to properly service their clients and detect any structural issues such as cracked masonry structures or leaky chimney liners.
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Work on your roof can be hazardous without proper training and equipment. Professional chimney sweeps know how to safely use ladders while wearing safety gear such as goggles that create an airtight seal and masks; additionally they use “ladders feet” that prevent slippage on uneven ground.
Chimney sweeps are trained professionals who can identify and repair potential issues before they become more serious, such as cracked and crumbling flue lining or an incorrect functioning fireplace damper – factors which an untrained homeowner might overlook.
Be sure to ask whether the person you’re hiring is CSIA certified; look out for badges, uniforms or vehicles displaying this certification. Hiring an accredited chimney sweep can save time, money and headaches in the long run! Make sure they have insurance to cover any accidents on your roof during their service.
Cleaning a chimney isn’t an easy or quick task. To complete it successfully requires various tools – from brush rods of various lengths and widths, a high powered shop vacuum equipped with HEPA filter technology, drop cloths, ladders and dropper cloths; not to mention lots of dusty work gloves! And it can get quite messy in the process too!
Professional chimney sweeps take great care in keeping soot and creosote off of your floors and furnishings, saving both time and energy spent cleaning up afterward.
Chimneys, fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances should be regularly inspected and cleaned by certified chimney sweeps to detect issues such as deteriorating liners, cracked or missing flue tiles, or gaps or flaws in the lintel or flashing that require repair or replacement. Chimney sweeps will help identify these potential issues for repair by the chimney sweep.
An experienced chimney sweep will recommend repairs for these issues in order to avoid hazardous and expensive consequences. A dirty chimney can allow toxic carbon monoxide gas into your home – this colorless, odorless gas is highly attractive to hemoglobin in blood cells, potentially poisonous over long periods of time inhalation, potentially even leading to fatalities.
Cleaning your chimney isn’t cheap – an initial sweep and inspection can run around $200; the greater its complexity or danger, however, the higher its costs will be.
Creosote, a black oily residue left behind when wood burns, can be highly flammable and is one of the primary causes of chimney fires. It may form into either a flaky substance that brushes away easily or a solid layer that requires solvents and scrapers to remove, so to keep your chimney safe it is recommended that regular inspections and sweeps be completed by a certified CSIA chimney sweep.
Certified chimney sweeps have trained eyes that can identify issues you might not notice, such as cracks in the lintel or damage to a liner, so getting it swept annually – particularly late summer or early fall before using it again for winter use – is key.
A chimney is an integral component of home heating systems, venting smoke and carbon monoxide from fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and furnaces to the outdoors. Regular inspection and cleaning should be carried out to avoid accidental fires or hazardous fumes entering the home.
Creosote, an extremely flammable buildup formed every time wood burns in a chimney, is responsible for most chimney fires. This substance appears as flaky, sticky or solid accumulations and requires special solvents and tools for safe removal without damaging its interior lining lining of your chimney’s interior lining. Professional chimney sweeps employ electric and hand brushes as well as special cleaning rods with scrapers and vacuum equipment to safely clear away creosote buildup in their chimneys.
Professional chimney cleaners will also identify problems in your chimney that need fixing, such as loose flashing or missing caps. Without experience in roofing work and safety precautions, hiring an expert is often the safer solution.