I think my chimney needs cleaning.... at times I don't get a good draw...
Yes, it could be the chimney itself and how it's designed... or the fact
that it hasn't been cleaned for a godd 2 or 3 years - though I don't use it
untill winter, and I wouldn't say it was under constant use. In the past, a
good draw of course came when it was a windy day...
Just curious, there's only 1 guy in our area who cleans chimney... actually
a brother team... they want $175.00 to do the job... not sure if that's
HIGH! It does include perhaps removing the insert - I have a fireplace with
an INSERT, and cleaning that as well...
I do remember the las ttime I had it done it was $100.00 and all the guy did
was get a shop vac up into the opening and suck the stuff out after
ANY advice would be appreciated... I was going to go to HOME DEPOT and see
what they got for the "weekend warrior"... perhaps I'll tackle that this
I paid someone once to do mine - not that I could not clean the
chimmney but could not figure out how to take the inside upper section
of my wood burning insert out / in. Watched him 1x and now do it myself
2x a year. I have a steel liner and have this inspected (camera) 1x
every 5 years after I clean it myself - camera inspection $30.00.
Regular sweep, cleaning is around 80.00 here. I'd do it myself if I
were you - and frequently. Once every few years I would get someone in
to inspect the liner - especially if it's not metal.
I tend to shy away from DIY projects that can involve fire hazards or
other threats to life. A good, licensed chimney sweep, with verifiable
credentials, would be my choice. One major issue would be inspection of
the chimney to make sure it is sound, and to make sure there is no
chance of chim. fires. If you have burned soft wood, or don't know the
home's history, I would have a pro do it at least the first time. If
all that you hire him for is sweeping, that is likely what you will get.
Inspection and repair are likely extras.
Not a bad idea. When I worked in the industry, a sweep included a full
visual inspection. A camera inspection of the flue was an additional
charge. Repairs are certainly an additional charge.
To the OP: You may be able to get the necessary equipment to sweep your
flue, but do you know what glazed creosote looks like? Do you know what
burned creosote (a likely indicator of a flue fire) looks like? Can you
identify compromises in your fireplace's integrity? Is your flue lined
based on the recommendations of the insert, or is the insert just slammed
in the fireplace opening? If it's the later, I'd strongly suggest getting
an inspection, as it can lead to improper venting and creosote build-up.
Sweeping a chimney isn't a huge deal. Inspecting a chimney and making sure
it's up to code is a big deal, and the consequences of an error can be
catastrophic. I would strongly discourage fireplace maintenance for most
DIYers. For more information, check out the Chimney Safety Institute of
America's section on wood stove and inserts:
Instead of discouraging fireplace maintenance for
DIYers, maybe you should encourage wood stove user
to become educated. I would bet that I know more
about wood stoves, chimneys, and their maintenance
than 95 percent of the "so-called" chimney sweeps.
And I'll bet I would clean the chimney better
and more often, without a bunch of silly BS and
urban myths from a sweep. Cleaning and inspecting
a chimney isn't rocket science, just a little dirty.
On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 00:04:16 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
Yeah, Yeah Yeah
Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda.
Put your money where your mouth is. If you are that great, start your
own business and practice what you preach.
Come back here in a year (if you still have a business) and tell us
how well you AREN'T doing.
I think you totally missed the point! I'm not
starting a business and have no intention of
cleaning anybody else's stove pipe. I'm a DIYer
and grew up with wood stoves. But you one doesn't
need to grow up with stoves, just read literature
about how to operate and maintain a stove.
My point was that the DIYer can do as good or a
better job than most chimney sweeps and be
confident that the job is done correctly. The
DIYer can also do a chimney sweep several times in
a season, which may be required depending on
amount of use and other factors, and no one is
going to hire a sweep to do the job 3 times in a
So exactly what is your point? Wait, I think I
know, "Leave all the maintenance and installation
stuff to the professional." Spend $50 for a
plumber to come do a 50cent and 5 minute job. Or
call an appliance repairman for an $80 house call
to plug in the clothes washer. Because we all
know that it takes years and years of experience
to learn how to fix anything, right? And besides,
every repairman is way smarter than we DIYers and
knows more about every single job that we need to
I agree. I've been around woodstoves all my life. As a kid in my
parents house and currently in my own. I do have the camera inspection
every 5 years and i'll be damned if i'm gonna hire some "professional"
to go on my roof and clean the thing out. 2x a year I do it. Each
cleaning - and a damn good one each time results in about a cup full of
residue - why? cause the thermostat on the flue lets me know the safe
and proper burn temp. range and I use seasoned wood and following the
stove directions most of the gases are burnt before it hits the flue
resulting in little or no smoke. 45 years at it - 0 chimney fires and
1,000's of dollars saved by doing it myself. This is supposed to be a
DIY format but becoming more a soapbox where professionals tell you why
you should hire them and not DIY.
I read your earlier post, and didn't have a problem with it. It sounds
like your stove was properly installed, that you clean it regularly, and
you have it periodically inspected. These are all good things. You have
to realize that in my experience, you are outside the norm.
There are some things I think the average homeowner can tackle. I also
think there are some things it's necessary to seek consultation for. A bit
off-topic, but I also climb rocks. Like cleaning a chimney, it's not
rocket science. However, it's not recommended that people teach
themselves. The learning curve can be steep, and the penalty for error can
be high. Fireplaces in bad repair can kill. That's not "BS and urban
myths from a sweep," as George may claim. Do what you can to save a buck,
but make certain you're doing it right. Be safe.
Wow, Mark, you do extrapolate. I did not say that
it was "BS and urban myths from a sweep" to say
that "Fireplaces in bad repair can kill." In fact
I didn't say anything about fireplaces in bad
repair and killing. I said I didn't want to
listen to a bunch of BS and urban myths from a
sweep. Examples are "Black helicopters are coming
to spy on us," a bunch of racist sayings, idiotic
statements about the economy, milk is killing
everyone, sugar is bad for you, etc. I'll also
bet that not one in 10 sweeps has any idea about
the number of home fires or causes in the U.S. for
any recent 5 or 10 year period.
With 45 years experience, I'll bet that the OP
knows more about what is safe and not safe than
most inspectors that he would hire.
BTW rock climbing is nothing like cleaning a
chimney (which regardless of your wording is what
In my first post, I stated that physically cleaning a chimney isn't a big
deal. It takes a little attention to detail and knowledge of the system,
but it's not rocket science (as you stated). If you want to sweep your own
chimney, knock yourself out. In my opinion, that doesn't mean you're the
right person to take over inspection and repair.
Most people I've encountered wouldn't know how to inspect their chimney.
They may not be comfortable getting on their roof to inspect the crown,
mortar, etc. They may miss gaps around the flue tiles, not recognize the
signs of a flue fire, and will certainly lack camera equipment for a
close-up inspection of the flue.
While my initial language may have been harsh, I still can't say it's a
good idea for the average homeowner to start maintaining his or her
fireplace. If you are comfortable cleaning your own chimney, I would still
recommend the occasional inspection by a certified chimney sweep. They see
hundreds of systems, while you're only dealing with your own. I'd also
recommend learning about your fireplace, which is why I linked to the CSIA
site in the first place:
You are right, "wants" have nothing to do with
having knowledge about inspection and repair.
However the desire to learn may well have. BTW, I
intentionally gave no information on my experience
I have books (several, in fact) that show exactly
what sparkplugs look like with various faults .
Do you really think that there are not books
articles and pamphlets by manufactures and others
that show pictures to describe various flue
problems. BTW, that is what books are for, so that
you don't have to relearn through experience what
other have learned. Learning from several
teachers is often far superior than learning from
one, which is probably what most sweeps have (i.e,
Camera inspection sound good, but, my oh my, what
did they ever do before cheap video and digital
Biggest logic error used by those who like
control. A government type of that logic is, "you
10,000 people really don't know what you are doing
so we will make just 1 person responsible for
controlling that action."
The home owner does have only one system (or maybe
just a few) and can therefore can be very familiar
with that system and keep very exacting track of
changes and problems. The sweep can not keep that
information straight for 100s of systems
(otherwise he/she wouldn't be a sweep). Besides
just because the sweep seek hundreds of system,
doesn't mean that he know more about what he is
seeing than someone who has only one system.
There are lots of people who have no mechanical
qualifications and strain that capability in
getting out of bed. They certainly should not be
cleaning or inspecting a flue and probably would
never attempt it. At the opposite end there are
a lot of people have the desire and the ability to
learn almost anything and quickly surpass the
knowledge and capability of those who may have
been engaged in their "profession" for years.
Barring a few, most of those on a newsgroups fall
on the capability side than on the utterly
You'd have to have a hugely dirty chimney to affect the draft.
Cleaning will remove built-up flammables, unless they've been deposited
into a hard shiny coating. Even the removable stuff will generally take
a pretty stiff brush to dislodge.
Periodically running a hot fire will generally keep deposits from
getting really set into place, with any sort of wood-burner, and is
advisable for your long-term safety.
So long as the flue is in good condition.
Most of the value in the sweep's service is in his safety inspection,
if he's competent.
The hard part is getting the crud off the smoke shelf after brushing. After
I found a good deal on a newer CERTIFIED insert and stainless steel chimney
Now, I don't have to move the insert. I remove a few fire bricks and metal
from the inside top 'shelf' of the stove, line the stove with newspaper, close
the door, then
go up on the roof and run the brush down. Most of the crud ends up on the paper
after a little scrapeing off a ledge at the back of the stove. Wrap up the crud
paper and throw it out Replace the stove parts. Done. No heavy lifting involved.
What kind of chimney? brick or is it a
double/triple wall steel? How much wood do you
burn in a season? How hot does the stove register?
What needs to be done, depends on how the insert
was installed. If the insert outlet (where the
stove pipe is normally connected) is sealed to the
stack, you don't want insert to be moved.
i reccomend doing it right after summer is over. the creo is flaking
off by then and its pretty easy..i used to pull a balled up blunket thru
mine and the stuff just fell off, but i guess a brush is best.
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