Chimney Cleaning

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Chimney Cleaning by Lou Curley Makes Sense

Chimney Cleaning and Sweeping

When most companies come out to sweep a masonry fireplace, they push a brush up or down and visually check the chimney with a flashlight. When you have us sweep your masonry fireplace, you get:

  1. A better sweeping – Masonry fireplaces will get rotary swept using a brush that attaches to a drill that spin-cleans the interior of your chimney. If this service is offered by other companies it’s usually at an additional charge.
  2. A better inspection – A video scan of the entire interior of the inside of the flue will be performed. Pictures of any defects will be shown to the homeowner, you don’t have to “take our word for it”. Again, if other companies do this it is normally an add-on service (if they even offer this service).
  3. A better technician – There’s no training required to become a chimney sweep like there is in other trades, and many companies choose not to get any formal training. When you hire us, Lou himself will do the sweep and he is the only person in Pennsylvania who has obtained all available certifications from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fireplace Institute (NFI), and Fireplace Investigation, Research, and Education Services (F.I.R.E.)

How Often Should Your Chimney Be Swept or Cleaned?

How often you need chimney cleaning service depends on use, system design, burning habits, house pressures, and a multitude of other factors. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires an annual inspection of all chimneys, and sweeping as needed. Annual inspections should be done on all chimneys whether they vent a fireplace, a stove, or a gas or oil furnace or boiler. A sweeping/cleaning is generally done if there is a buildup of 1/8″ or more of soot or creosote in the chimney.

Who Should You Have Perform Your Chimney Cleaning Service?

The chimney industry is unregulated, so many companies have little or no formal training. Your best bet is to verify that the company is certified by a nationally recognized agency in the area you need.

Sweeping or Cleaning – The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep credential is the “gold standard” of the chimney sweeping industry. To earn this credential, you must pass 2 tests on sweeping practices and code requirements. This should be considered the minimum requirement for anybody servicing your chimney system.

Inspection – The Fireplace Investigation, Research, and Education Services (F.I.R.E.) Certified Fireplace and Chimney Inspector credential is the only chimney inspection certification in the country. To earn this credential, the inspector has to take a 6 day, fast paced, hands on class and pass an intense exam.

Service – For service of hearth appliances and factory built fireplaces, the National Fireplace Institute (NFI) is the credential to look for. NFI offers certifications in wood, gas, and pellet. When someone achieves all 3 of these certifications they are considered a Master Hearth Professional, which is considered to be the highest level of certification in the hearth industry.

Your situation may call for more than one of the above certifications, for example a sweeping and an inspection. Lou Curley has both certifications offered by CSIA, both offered by F.I.R.E., and all three from NFI.

When Is The Best Time To Have a Chimney Cleaning Performed?

Your chimney should be inspected or cleaned annually. These are services that can be performed at any time of the year, but as soon as the heating season is over is the ideal time. Soot is corrosive, so it’s best to get it out of your chimney as soon after the heating season as possible. Sweeping/cleaning your chimney after the burning season has a similar effect as brushing your teeth after eating.