Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are answers to common questions that home or business owners may have when considering chimney and fireplace work.

Why should I use Swept Away Chimney?

We take your fireplace and chimney needs seriously. Swept Away Chimney professionals strive to exceed our clients’ expectations. Our honesty, integrity, and professionalism are the core ingredients to our success. Our services are competitively priced for chimney cleanings and fireplace inspections. We are professional, honest, and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Whether you need a chimney sweepchimney inspection, chimney cap, fireplace damper, chimney liner, chimney rebuild, or any other chimney need, you can be assured that Swept Away Chimney, LLC, will be there to service you and keep your home and family safe.

Do I need to be home for the appointment with Swept Away Chimney?

Yes, chimney sweeps and full inspection of fireplace chimney, furnace flue, and dryer vents require interior home access. Most importantly, if something comes up during the inspection, your Swept Away Chimney professional will provide the what, where, when, why, and how to rectify the issue. Our Swept Away Chimney professional will work within your schedule and be mindful of your time.

What do I look for in a chimney professional?

Swept Away Chimney recognizes that your biggest investment is your home. Our certified chimney professionals will advise you of the conditions that exist within the chimney system(s). Swept Away Chimney realizes that, as a home owner, you have many factors to consider before hiring a chimney professional. Some of these factors should include selecting a chimney professional who can provide:

  • A current CSIA credential (Chimney Safety Institute of America issues a photo certification credential). Be sure that the technician actually performing the work has the credential (go to CSIA.org).
  • A contract that exactly details the scope of work and the timeline for services rendered.
  • Current certificates of liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.

I have proposals from many chimney sweeps. Why are the prices so different?

Like anything else, prices for chimney projects can vary greatly due to many variables. Some points to keep in mind as you sort through various proposals and their respective prices:

  • Are the proposals all recommending the same solutions?
  • It’s the “apples to apples” concept. Be sure the proposals scope out the same job. For example, if your chimney is leaking, are you getting a “patch job” which may do nothing more than delay the inevitable larger rebuild, or is the proposal for a full rebuild?
  • What materials are being used?
  • Are the liners the correct size for your fireplace, furnace, wood burning stove or any other appliance? Is the liner the proper gauge? Is it UL approved?
  • Is the contractor fully licensed and insured?
  • Will the contractor commit to the proposal in writing?
  • Does the proposal fully explain the project and explain it in language you can easily understand?

How can I pay for Swept Away Chimney services?

We may require a down payment; however, most payments are made upon completion. We are pleased to accept cash, personal checks, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

How do I know your quoted price is the final price I will pay?

At Swept Away Chimney, our certified professionals spec out every project in great detail to minimize those “surprises” that can cause a project’s scope and price to increase.

Is Swept Away Chimney insured?

Yes, Swept Away Chimney carries a $2,000,000 liability insurance policy and we are covered by Workers Compensation insurance. We are licensed and bonded.  A certificate of insurance is available upon request.

What is creosote?

There are three types, or classifications, of creosote:

Stage 1 creosote is almost like a powder form. It is easily removed by brushing and can even be brushed off with the stroke of the hand. This is the simplest form of creosote, sometimes referred to as “soot,” and is the easiest to remove with a chimney cleaning.

Stage 2 creosote begins to take a black flake-like formation. This type of creosote is crunchy, looks almost like black foam, and begins to block the chimney flue. Stage 2 creosote can still be brushed off; however, it may require a power cleaning. This type of creosote is dangerous because it blocks the flue, holding in more heat, and is extremely flammable. Any chimney with stage 2 build-up is at high risk for a chimney fire.

Stage 3 creosote is a combination of stage 1 and stage 2 that has been heated enough to cause it to melt. It appears like a black shiny glass, or molasses syrup, and it can be sticky to the touch. This type of creosote is extremely dangerous and will cause a chimney fire. It is common to have all three stages of creosote in a chimney that has been neglected.

Stage 3 creosote can be removed with a power cleaning, but often requires a chemical cleaning as well.  The chemical cleaning is performed over the course of 1–3 weeks, depending on the severity of the build-up. Removing creosote is the only way to keep your family and chimney safe if you are planning you use your fireplace.

Do unused chimneys require periodic inspections?

Yes. Cracks and open mortar joints can develop and weaken a chimney’s flue structure over time, even without use. Other obstructions such as bird and animal nests can build up as well. An annual inspection allows a homeowner to correct small problems before they develop into larger more expensive problems.

Can exterior chimney work be done in winter?

With the proper tools and equipment, nearly any project can be completed during the winter. Of course, there will be times when inclement weather require suspension of a project due to extreme cold or snow; however, even in the warmer months rainy weather conditions can cause a temporary suspension of work.

Why does my fireplace stink?

The stench may be due to creosote deposits in the chimney, a natural byproduct of wood burning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on. A good cleaning will help but usually won’t solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results with baking soda or even kitty litter set in the fireplace. The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house. A tight sealing, top-mounted damper will also reduce this airflow coming down the chimney.

I have birds in my chimney. What should I do?

Most likely what you have are Chimney Swifts. These birds are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Act and cannot be removed until they are able to fledge out (fly out on their own), about 4–6 weeks from when you first hear them. After they are gone, we can clean the chimney flue and recommend that you have a chimney cap installed so you don’t run into the same problem in subsequent years.

Call us today

Make an appointment with Swept Away Chimney for an inspection of your chimney and receive a detailed explanation of your chimney service options.