Chester County Hearth & Home

(610) 469-6110 (610) 469-6022

Welcome to Chester County Hearth & Home, where for over 20 years we’ve provided satisfied customers with expert chimney service, fireplace upgrades and total replacement.

Beware of the $79.00 Chimney Sweep!

I see it every year and every year I hear the same thing, “What a mistake”. Remember the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, and how about this one, “you get what you pay for”.

Here’s how it works, a large chimney contractor runs an ad that says we’ll clean any chimney for seventy nine bucks. The owner of the company may be a certified sweep but usually the guys who show up in the van aren’t. From the time they arrive at your house, they’re under extreme pressure to be fast and to sell you something that you may not need. Why? Because they need to pad out the bill and make the trip worthwhile for their boss. They’ll use language and terms that you’re unfamiliar with and they know that. They may tell you that your crown is no good, that your corbelling is not par ridged properly, that your damper doesn’t seal, or your cap is no good. They may even try and scare you by suggesting that the repairs you need are of a serious nature and that your chimney may be unsafe. All the while they’re trying to be as fast as they can, because they have an unreasonable amount of appointments to keep. And while being fast they may not have put down their drop cloths or brought in their vacuum, and they haven’t cleaned the damper or the smoke shelf, and they’re trying to cut as many corners as they can, especially if you’re not buying their suggested repairs. They have to be packed up and on the road in as close to 30 minutes as they can. I can tell you that because their unhappy customers have called me in after companies like this, because they had a bad feeling about how there chimney was serviced. And also I’ve been called by the customers they jilted, the people who took the day off from work and who were scheduled by the boss, but the guys never showed up. Probably because of the unreasonable amount of appointments their boss scheduled.

Cleaning a chimney is an inherently dirty job and takes time, precautions have to be taken to minimize any impact to your home , if I’m your sweep and I dirty you’re house you’re not going to call me back or worse yet you’re not going to refer me to your neighbors and friends. It typically takes about 90 minutes to properly service your chimney. The job should closely follow the steps outlined here. The hearth and mantle should be cleared of breakables and hearth paraphernalia. Clean drop clothes should be placed around the fireplace. A professional chimney vacuum should be brought in, set up and TURNED ON. The firebox is swept clean, the damper removed and taken outdoors where it can be cleaned outside as well as the handle. The smoke shelf is cleared of accumulated debris. The smoke chamber and chimney stack is swept conventionally and then power swept to remove any stubborn ash or creosote. Then a level 1 inspection should be performed. If there is concern from a suspected chimney fire, lightening strike or other event I’ll discuss the option of Chim-scanning your chimney. This is a four thousand dollar video inspection tool for really checking out your chimney. Next the damper is properly re-installed and a thorough report is filled out and given to you the consumer apprising you of the chimneys condition and suggested repairs that may be needed. No pressure is put on you to do anything else! Repairs and improvements that are suggested are done so by a nationally certified chimney sweep who personally abides by the CSIA code of ethics. So, beware of the $79.00 sweep. It’s not worth it!