Ashburn, VA

How Much Does A Chimney Sweep Cost?

$149 – $250 Per Annual Cleaning

The average cost of a chimney sweep and level 1 inspection is $155, with prices ranging from $149 to $250 for chimney cleaning services. Cost depends on the type of chimney, creosote buildup, roof accessibility, and if animals are in your chimney. A standard fireplace inspection costs $55 to $130. Get free estimates from chimney sweeps near you or view our cost guide below.

Chimney Sweep Cost

A basic chimney sweep for a fireplace with a single flue costs $149 to $185 which includes a chimney inspection. Wood fireplaces that receive regular maintenance cost $89 to $155 per cleaning, while those with heavy creosote buildup or neglect cost $300 or more. Chimney cleaning kits cost $50.

Average Cost of Chimney Sweep Chart

Chimney Sweep Cost
National Average Cost $155
Minimum Cost $75
Maximum Cost $400
Average Range $149 to $250

According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a chimney must be swept at least once a year to keep in safe working order. The NFPA also states that the leading factor contributing to home heating fires is the failure to clean creosote from solid-fueled chimneys.

How Do You Know If Your Chimney Needs to Be Cleaned?

Your chimney needs cleaning for some of the following reasons:

  1. If your fire doesn’t burn well, it is not getting adequate airflow.
  2. If your fire is giving off bad smells, you may have other, odorless gasses inside your home. This includes carbon monoxide, which can be fatal.
  3. Greasy black soot and creosote builds up inside your chimney. Take a flashlight and scrape the soot; every time you have ⅛” or more of creosote buildup schedule a cleaning.
  4. A buildup of smoke inside your home indicates a blockage in your chimney.
  5. If you hear things inside your chimney, it’s possible there are birds or animals trapped inside, and they may have built nests in there.

Table of Contents

  1. Chimney Sweep Cost
  2. Chimney Cleaning Costs
  3. Chimney Inspection Cost
  4. Gas Fireplace Cleaning and Inspection Costs
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Professional Chimney Services
  7. DIY Chimney Sweeping Guide
  8. Hiring a Chimney Sweeper
  9. Chimney Sweeps Near Me

Chimney Cleaning Costs

A regular wood-burning chimney and fireplace cleaning costs between $149 to $340 depending on the current condition and the materials used to build it, with different charges for each type of inspection, cleaning, and repair. A gas fireplace costs $75 to $100 to clean.

Chimney Cleaning Costs Chart

Chimney Cleaning Costs By Fireplace Type

Chimney Cleaning Cost
Service Average Cost
Regular Fireplace $149 – $185
Regular Open Fireplace with Double Flue $250 – $340
Chimney Flue Liner $150 – $185
Freestanding Wood Stove or Fireplace $159 – $225
Pellet Stove $179 – $225
Wood-Burning Insert with a Liner $159 – $200
Wood-Burning Insert (Must Be Removed) $179 – $239
Oil-Burner Chimney $199 – $255
Gas Fireplace $75 – $100
Chimney Cleaning Kit (DIY) $21 – $1,000
  • Sweeping a regular open fireplace with a single flue costs $149 – $185, which usually includes the cost of a Level 1 inspection.
  • Cleaning a freestanding wood stove or pellet stove costs $159 – $225. A professional can do a thorough inspection and cleaning of the vents, ash traps, and pipes, and it’s important to have this done before the cold sets in.
  • Sweeping a wood-burning masonry fireplace is $159 – $200. Having a HEPA-filter vacuum while doing this will ensure the air quality of the room.
  • Sweeping a wood-burning insert that must be removed costs $179 – $239. Removing the insert and the baffle gives the chimney sweep access to the chimney. Both the baffle and chimney are cleaned, and the cleaning process takes 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Sweeping a regular open fireplace with a double flue costs $340.
    • Some chimney sweeps will add $125 to the price if you want a rotary cleaning,
    • If you have more than one fireplace or furnace to clean during the visit, additional flues can be cheaper to clean at $89 – $155 each.
  • Cleaning a gas fireplace costs $75 to $100 and ensures a clear path for exiting gasses through the vent.
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Chimney sweep cleaning a chimney standing on the house roof lowering equipment down the flue

Wood Stove Chimney Cleaning Cost

A wood stove chimney cleaning costs about $189 on average, with prices ranging from $159 to $225. If the freestanding wood stove or insert has to be moved before cleaning can be done, it will cost about $215. You can save this cost if you can move the wood stove or insert yourself.

Most wood stove pipes are no wider than 8 inches in diameter, so creosote builds up and carbon corrodes inside the flue faster than it does with a wider flue. They must be cleaned at least yearly to keep the creosote buildup low.

Additional Costs

Expect to pay more than the basic cost for any of the following reasons:

  1. A double flue
  2. More than one flue
  3. A lot of creosote buildup
  4. If the fireplace insert has to be pulled out of the firebox before the chimney can be cleaned
  5. No chimney cap (makes for a dirtier chimney)
  6. An older masonry chimney with no liner
  7. Difficult roof access

A chimney cleaning should include cleaning—from the firebox to the roof—so the chimney is free of all flammable deposits and to ensure the safe exit of all combustion gasses. Homeowners have reported cleanings taking 30 minutes to three hours, so the length of time required depends entirely on the sophistication of the equipment used and the experience of the chimney sweep.

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Chimney Inspection Cost

A standard chimney inspection costs $100 to $250 depending on the type of chimney being inspected and roof accessibility. Many chimney sweeps offer a level one inspection free as part of your chimney cleaning service or if other repair work is performed.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America and The National Fire Protection Association classify three levels of chimney inspections all fire professionals should adhere to.

Chimney Inspection Cost By Level Chart

Chimney Inspection Cost
Level Description Price
Level 1 This is a visual inspection of the chimney without the aid of a video camera. $55 – $130
Level 2 Level 1 inspection plus inspection of the roof, attic, and crawl space. A visual (video) inspection of all the internal surfaces and joints of a flue liner. $150 – $250
Level 3 Includes Level 1 & 2 inspections as well as repairs as needed. Could be as involved as tearing down and rebuilding the chimney. Also includes cleaning. $240 – $1,500

You should have your chimney inspected:

  1. When there is soot in the home
  2. When you’re about to install a new firebox or furnace
  3. Before you buy the home
  4. Right after a house fire or chimney fire
  5. If lightning or a falling tree hit the house
  6. If there are brick or wall stains inside or outside the chimney
  7. If the roof has been replaced

Level 1 Chimney Inspection Cost

A Level 1 chimney inspection is the most common and is usually included free as part of your cleaning or repair service. Otherwise, a Level 1 inspection costs between $55 and $130. This inspection is for properly functioning fireplaces that receive regular chimney cleanings. Chimney cleaners inspect the smoke chamber, firebox, damper, stovepipe, chimney cap, chimney crown, chimney exterior, masonry, mortar joints, chimney structure or chimney flue, and sometimes the roof.

Level 2 Chimney Inspection Cost

A Level 2 inspection costs $150 to $250 with homeowners paying $175 on average. A level 2 is required before relining the flue, switching to a new type of fuel or furnace, or if you’ve had an earthquake or a fire. Also, this level is often done before selling or after buying a house. In addition to everything inspected in Level 1, the inspection covers all internal joints and surfaces with the aid of a video camera plus siding, the attic, and the roof access.

Level 3 Chimney Inspection

A Level 3 inspection starts at $240, with repair costs adding $1,000 to $3,000 on average. A Level 3 is performed when structural damage to the fireplace/chimney is certain, paying special attention to areas that are difficult to access. The inspection might include having to dismantle parts of the chimney to inspect parts properly—interior walls of the chimney, metal flue pipes, masonry, bricks, chimney crowns, and more. The necessity for this type of inspection is rare.

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Camera Inspection

A chimney sweep will use a video camera to see the inside of your chimney for about $145 if no cleaning is done, or $195 if you want the chimney cleaned too. Many include a modified video inspection in a Level 1 inspection as well—some sweeps even mount their cell phone on rods and video the chimney that way.

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Gas Fireplace Cleaning and Inspection Costs

A gas fireplace inspection costs $75 to $100, or between $150 and $175 if you include a thorough cleaning. The cleaning can be performed on your own when the fireplace is cool and the pilot light is off. However, because of the vent, you will need an annual inspection.

Gas Fireplace Inspection Cost

A gas fireplace inspection costs $75 to $100. A gas fireplace needs an inspection because it has a vent to the home’s exterior that might get blocked. The inspection includes the frame, glass, ignition, log condition, gasket, screws and bolts, and heat output.

An important check is on the temperature of the flue or chimney—if it’s too cold, the fireplace gasses won’t exit quickly enough, causing faster creosote buildup, possibly carbon monoxide poisoning, and condensation of the flue gasses (causing corrosive water damage).

Gas Fireplace Cleaning Cost

A gas fireplace cleaning costs about $75. A typical cleaning includes removing residue from deteriorating log sets and debris, cleaning the glass, and cleaning out any debris (leaves, birds’ nests, etc.) from the vent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Does a Chimney Sweep Do?

A chimney sweep cleans the firebox, damper, smoke chamber, flue, and smoke shelf of your fireplace or wood stove and chimney by removing any blockages of creosote and soot from them. Chimney sweeps are trained in fire prevention and work closely with the fire department.

Costs depend on how long it’s been since the last chimney cleaning, how accessible the roof is, and how much use your fireplace gets. Expect to pay more if you have heavy creosote buildup or dead or living animals in your chimney.

Chimney sweep standing on rooftop cleaning metal chimney flue of residential house

How Long Does It Take to Sweep a Chimney?

A chimney sweep service will take an average of 45 to 60 minutes to perform. The time needed could vary if you haven’t had the chimney cleaned in a long time, or you have a bad buildup of creosote, or the chimney has a lot of angled turns. Some chimney cleaning equipment can do the cleaning job faster than with older methods.

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

The National Fire Protection Association recommends at least one annual cleaning or every time you have ⅛” or more of creosote buildup in your chimney. Get more than a yearly cleaning if you burn more than two cords of wood or 36 fires in a year, or if you burn green or treated wood.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Chimney?

Ultimately, if you don’t clean your chimney, it will catch on fire because of the buildup of creosote or the flammable nature of bird’s nests or fallen debris. Always schedule a regular cleaning each year.

How Do You Prepare for a Chimney Sweep?

Remove all obstacles in and around the fireplace to give the chimney sweep clear access, and move anything valuable or irreplaceable to another room. Don’t use your fireplace for 24 hours before the appointment, and remove ashes and unburned pieces of wood from the firebox.

Do You Tip a Chimney Sweep?

You don’t typically tip a chimney sweep unless s/he goes above and beyond or it’s a particularly nasty day for them to be up on your roof.

How Do You Put Out a Chimney Fire?

If your chimney catches fire, make sure everyone is out of the house and then call 911. Then, only if you’re comfortable doing so, go back in the house, put heatproof gloves on, and empty a bucket of sand on the fire—if you have one by the fireplace. Then use a fire suppressant stick to choke the oxygen out of the fire. One Chimfex stick costs $22, and a package of FireEx costs $33. Then go back outside and use your garden hose to water the chimney and the surrounding roof until the fire department arrives.

  • Will a Chimney Fire Burn Itself Out?Sometimes chimney fires burn themselves out, but if you think or know you have a chimney fire, you must call 911.
  • Will Salt Put Out a Chimney Fire? – Some salt might put out a small fire, but you cannot rely on it to put out a chimney fire.
  • Does a Chimney Fire Clean the Chimney? – No, a chimney fire will not clean the chimney. It may burn off small amounts of creosote, but it will not burn off layers of accumulation. Those need to be removed by a professional chimney sweep.

How Do I Prevent Creosote Buildup in My Chimney?

Prevent creosote buildup in your chimney by only burning properly dried wood, keeping your fire burning briskly, keeping a flue temperature of over 250 degrees F, and keeping the flue clean to give the fire enough airflow. Also, make sure your flue is the right size for your fireplace insert, or smoke will tend to hang out inside the chimney.

Consider using chemicals that dissolve creosote before brushing.

  • Rutland Liquid Creosote Remover has a 32 fl. oz. bottle for $20.
  • Chimney Saver Cre-Away has a 1 lb. powder for $25.
  • HeatShield PCR is a poultice. Buy 25 lbs. for $278. The creosote absorbs this, and as it dries, the creosote loses its adhesiveness and it falls off the surface of the chimney.

Always read instructions thoroughly before using any product near an open flame or in a fireplace. Preferably, let a professional use the products.

Do Chimney Cleaning Logs Really Work? Are They Safe?

Chimney cleaning logs never replace a professional cleaning, and they often cause fires rather than prevent them. Loosened creosote debris can catch fire as it falls from the liner into a burning fire. Of the three levels of creosote buildup, the creosote log is of no use against Stage 2 and 3 of buildup.

“The use of these products alone is not an adequate substitute for mechanical chimney cleaning and inspection because it does not provide for the same level of protection to the chimney system.” – The Chimney Safety Institute of America

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Professional Chimney Services

Professional chimney sweeps are trained in safe practices and have up-to-date knowledge about fire safety. A professional chimney sweep is certified by any number of organizations, with most certified by the CSIA.

In addition to inspecting and cleaning your chimney, chimney sweeps can perform several services related to your fireplace or wood stove.

Chimney Sweep Service Costs
Service Average Price
Install a Chimney Cap $52 – $120
Install a Chimney Flue or Liner $222 – $5,000
Install Chimney Flashing $298 – $1,050
Install a Fireplace Damper $323 – $439
Remove Dead Animals $150 – $500
Waterproof Chimney Flues $100 – $400

Chimney Caps

The estimated cost to install a chimney cap is $52 to $120 if carried out during the same house visit. An average chimney cap costs $30 to $86, with most chimney sweeps having a preference for stainless steel rain covers.

A professional chimney technician can install a chimney cap—a screened type of cap installed over the top of the chimney—by attaching it to the chimney liner or flue tile. It lets smoke and gasses out and blocks rain and snow from getting in, which helps prevent chimney damage from freeze and thaw cycles. It also blocks animal entry.

Flue or Chimney Liners

Professional chimney liner installation costs an average of $222 to $5,000, with installation prices averaging $35 to $70 per linear foot for a stainless-steel flue. You can also purchase liner kits, which are cheaper, running about $400 to $600.

Cast-in-place chimney liners have the most expensive installation cost, but they are seamless and insulate well once installed, and they are much cheaper than replacing the masonry. Prices for all liners are based on the liner materials and the width, length, and condition of the chimney.

Most chimney sweeps won’t give an estimate without seeing the condition of the existing liner first. Lining a chimney can be a dangerous job, as liners are heavy and cumbersome; handling it on top of a steep roof can be hazardous.

“In the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) tests, unlined chimneys allowed heat to move through the chimney so rapidly that the adjacent woodwork caught fire in only 3 1/2 hours.” – CSIA

Chimney Flashing

Flashing a chimney costs between $298 and $1,050. Galvanized chimney flashing costs $1.49 to $5.25 per linear foot installed. To flash a typical one-flue brick chimney of any size up to 32” x 32”, the chimney repair expert will need to install base, top, counter, and step flashing to complete the job.

DIYers can buy galvanized steel step flashing for $0.52 – $0.62 per 4” x 8” piece, but a rubber boot flashing kit for a metal roof will cost about $216 – $270.

Flashing is sheet metal, formed into an L-shape that snugs up against the chimney directing water away from the seam of the chimney/roof. Flashing around a chimney keeps water from getting between the chimney and the roof and going down into your house, causing problems. Flashing can be tricky to install, and corners can remain unprotected, in which case heavy-duty caulking should be applied.

Fireplace Damper

The average cost to repair or replace a damper in your fireplace or chimney is $323 to $439. A bi-metal 6-inch flue damper costs an average of $143 to $211, and installation labor costs $180 to $228. The damper is a small flap you can open or close to allow smoke to escape your fire and move on up the chimney outdoors. A damaged damper can impede airflow and cause problems.

Animal Removal from Chimneys

Animal removal from a chimney costs $150 to $500 with prices going higher if there is an animal family to trap, and more again if chimney repairs are required after the animal removal.

If you’re not sure if you have a dead animal in the chimney, you can have an inspection done by the nuisance animal specialist for $75 to $125. You’ll require the services of a wildlife trapping and removal service. Note that the insurance of some chimney sweeps does not cover them for this type of work.

Animals can make holes in the masonry of your chimney and burrow in. Raccoon removal costs even more because of the damage they can do and associated health risks.

Waterproofing a Chimney Flue

Waterproofing a chimney flue costs $100 to $400 on average. Waterproofing a single flue with CrownCoat—a flexible elastomeric coating—is $100, and waterproofing each additional flue is $50. Using ChimneySaver, a vapor-permeable water repellant, the cost is about $400 per chimney or $2 per square foot.

Brick is porous, so bricks and mortar can break down from numerous freeze-thaw cycles if they are not waterproofed. Waterproofing should only be done after all repairs are carried out. Fill all cracks, and repair damaged or missing mortar. A Level 2 inspection should locate all the repair work needed.

Mechanical and Electric Chimney Cleaning

Mechanical chimney cleaning uses wire brushes attached to a weight and chain. They can either be pulled upward from the roof or dropped down, scraping off the soot and creosote as they go. They can also be rotated at high speed by an electric motor to increase the cleaning effect.

This process is mainly used to remove hardened creosote from the chimney walls, and it works well on slanted chimneys. Some chimney sweeps prefer this to a regular rod and brush system as bristles can get stuck, whereas the stainless steel, flexible brush doesn’t.

A professional chimney sweep can clean a chimney of any of level of soot and creosote buildup. A flaky soot layer that can be brushed away, hardened tar which is removed with specialized rotary tools, and creosote that has hardened further into a glaze, may require replacing the chimney liner.

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DIY Chimney Sweeping Guide

When cleaning your own chimney, you’ll need a basic set of tools such as drop cloths, a dust mask, a flashlight, a flue liner brush with rods, safety glasses, and a shop vacuum. You’ll also need a safety harness and ladder for the roof work.

Steps to Cleaning Your Chimney

  1. Cover all floor coverings and furniture before starting.
  2. If you have a shop vac, insert the hose into the firebox, taping the plastic sheeting around it. Some soot will cloud around the shop vac if you don’t wrap plastic around it.
  3. On the roof, remove the chimney cap.
  4. Connect the proper chimney brush to the end of a cleaning rod.
  5. Insert the brush down the chimney flue from the top.
  6. Run the brush up and down the flue.
  7. Add additional rods as you need to reach farther down the chimney.
  8. Scrape off the smoke shelf, and ensure the walls of the flue are clean.
  9. Remove all the ash that has fallen into your firebox.

Chimney Cleaning Kits

Prices for chimney cleaning kits range from $21 for a 9-foot pellet stove cleaning kit to $1,000 for a 65-foot continuous rod flexible chimney cleaning system. Using a cleaning kit yourself can work if the chimney is fairly straight, but buy a flexible brush kit if it is not.

Most chimney cleaning kits consist of rods which trimmed brushes are attached to at one end and a drill at the other—to rotate the rod. Multiple rods can be attached to reach the desired length, with each rod usually measuring 3 feet in length.

Fireplace Maintenance

Your fireplace and chimney needs maintenance, and because cleaning is so important in preventing fires, it must not be overlooked. Wood fires that receive regular chimney maintenance price $85 to $155 per cleaning.

To reduce your chance of fire in the chimney and save money on future cleanings and repairs,

  • Keep your chimney capped and litter-free.
  • Have the chimney swept at least once a year.
  • Repair all cracks and leaks.
  • Only burn dry wood, as green wood causes faster creosote buildup in the flue.

Creosote Logs

Creosote logs have a chemical in them, released by heat, that manufacturers claim reduces creosote by up to 60%, but the logs do not replace a professional cleaning. The chemicals soak into the creosote and dry it up, causing bits of it to drop into the fireplace. However, even if the debris is loosened, it can get stuck at various points of a slanted chimney and still has to be swept out. Worse yet, if a piece of creosote debris drops into the fireplace while a fire is going, it can cause a chimney fire. Creosote logs cost about $15 each.

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Hiring a Chimney Sweeper

Hiring a chimney sweep has a direct bearing on the safety of your home. Look for the following factors before narrowing down your list to the top three chimney sweep quotes. Their quote should be reasonable for the area. When new chimney parts are installed, select a company with a lifetime warranty on those materials.

Questions to Ask

Ask about the following aspects of the chimney sweep’s services.

  1. What’s included? The cleaning should include a Level 1 inspection.
  2. Will you prep and clean up? A full cleanup should be done after the chimney sweep.
  3. How long will it take? The quoted time is 45 – 60 minutes. It may take longer if there is a buildup of creosote, or if they find foreign objects in the chimney such as birds’ nests.
  4. How long are you in business? Ideally, they have been at least 3 – 5 years in business.
  5. What are your certifications? At the very least, they are certified with the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America).
  6. Are you insured and bonded? This is very important because of roof falls.
Beware of scams in this industry who offer a suspiciously low price, pressure you to sign the contract immediately, don’t have a truck with permanent signage, have no online reviews, and aren’t certified with the organizations they claim.

Deals and Discounts

Certified chimney sweep deals can help lower the cost, such as

  • 10% off for seniors or vets
  • Cheaper cleanings for regularly maintained chimneys—often $10 – $20 off a visit
  • Cheaper cleanings and inspections of other flues in the home during the same visit—at $30 – $70 less than the regular price each

Certification

Before you hire someone to clean your chimney, make sure they are certified and insured. There are several certification programs for chimney sweeps.

“The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® credential is acknowledged by industry organizations, insurance underwriters, local, state and federal agencies as the measure of a chimney and venting technician's knowledge about the evaluation and maintenance of chimney and venting systems.” – CSIA.org

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