A chimney sweep is critical maintenance that ensures the integrity of your chimney and the safety of your home. Of course, for such important maintenance, you want the assistance of a professional with experience and expertise. That said, homeowners should also have the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their chimneys and their homes. To help demystify the chimney sweep process, Brick + Ember Outfitters has compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions, as well as the answer to those questions, below:

How often should I have my chimney swept?

This a question we answer a lot here at B+E, but it bears repeating: according to the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you should have your chimney swept and inspected annually. Even if you do not use your chimney frequently, you should schedule a yearly inspection. This is a national standard to keep your chimney in working order and to keep your home safe. Of course, if you are experiencing problems with your fireplace or chimney, schedule a sweep and inspection right away—even if you’ve already had a sweep that year.

What does a chimney sweep do, exactly?

At B+E, our professional sweeps clean your chimney, removing creosote buildup, and perform a camera inspection of the entire structure. The level of inspection varies based on your individual needs. They then offer you an in-depth consultation based on their findings and clean up after themselves before departing. For a step-by-step look at a high-quality Brick + Ember Outfitters chimney sweep, read this blog post.

What is creosote?

Creosote is a highly flammable, tar-like deposit that sticks to the sides of your chimney flue. Creosote forms as combustion gases from your wood-burning fireplace travel up the flue and cool down. If creosote continues to build up without regular sweeps and inspections, it could ignite and cause a dangerous chimney fire.

Will my house be a mess after a chimney sweep?

Not if you hire a certified Brick + Ember Outfitters chimney sweep! Before beginning the cleaning and inspection, Brick + Ember Outfitters sweeps carefully set up drop cloths and a dual HEPA filter vacuum. The dual HEPA filter vacuum will be running the entire time to ensure that the air and the floor of your home remain clean during the entire process. Before departing, our sweeps carefully clean up after themselves.

How long does a chimney cleaning take?

The duration of a sweep can vary depending on the level of inspection you require for your chimney. Generally speaking, though, most visits take approximately 60 minutes.

I have a gas burning fireplace. Do I still need a sweep?

Absolutely! Gas is generally a clean-burning fuel, and gas fireplaces do not cause creosote buildup. However, many other factors can negatively affect the functionality of your chimney. For example, your chimney can become obstructed by animal nests or other debris. A chimney sweep will inspect your gas burning fireplace and chimney for carbon monoxide leaks, structural problems and ventilation issues, ensuring that your system is safe to use.

Can I just use chemical cleaners or chimney sweep logs?

Chemical cleaners and chimney sweep logs can be useful tools to help reduce the creosote buildup in your chimney. However, you should only use cleaners and logs that have been approved by the Chimney Sweep Institute of America. When in doubt about what to use, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters for advice. It’s extremely important to note: chemical cleaners and sweep logs do NOT replace an annual sweep and inspection. They are supplemental.

Aren’t all sweep services basically the same?

Unfortunately no, not all chimney sweeps offer the same level of service and experience. In fact, virtually anyone could start a business and call themselves a sweep. Every Brick + Ember Outfitters sweep is an experienced, certified technician. We offer full-service sweeps with camera inspections for just $169, significantly lower than the average cost. We believe that essential maintenance shouldn’t break the bank, and we’re committed to making quality service affordable.

Schedule your annual chimney sweep with Brick + Ember Outfitters today. Our technicians would be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have.