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Many homeowners may be tempted to light up the fireplace without having it cleaned for the year. However, an unclean chimney will show obvious signs that it needs cleaning. For instance, you may notice a lot of soot, or there may be a strange odor when you are burning a fire. Sometimes signs are not as obvious, but it is still a good idea to have your chimney cleaned whether there are obvious signs or not. This is especially true if it’s been over a year since you’ve used it or can’t remember the last time it was cleaned.


Sometimes the buildup in a chimney is so copious that you can’t use your fireplace until it is cleaned. You may even have to have repairs done to your chimney to get it working correctly. However, if the chimney needs more serious repairs, it could cost several thousand dollars, depending on the type of repair needed. Below are some reasons you will need an emergency chimney sweep:

You have recently had a chimney fire.
Smoke enters the home when the fireplace is in use.
Your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off when you use the fireplace.


Chimney cleaning is essential, but in most cases, having it cleaned won’t be an emergency. Here are a few non-emergency reasons you will need to call a chimney sweeper:

Your chimney requires an annual cleaning.
Dead animals keep landing in your fireplace.
The fire is not burning evenly or won’t stay lit.

Other Considerations

Some other reasons to clean your fireplace or chimney primarily relate to decor. For instance, if you plan to paint your fireplace, it’s a good idea to have the chimney cleaned first so any debris or residue doesn’t drop down and ruin the paint. Another reason you may want to have the chimney cleaned is if you are planning to remodel it—you may as well get the dirt and grime out of it before you renovate it so that you can use it as soon as it’s done. Finally, it’s a good idea to clean the chimney if you plan to sell your house. A fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned or maintained may affect the value of your home, and having it cleaned can make you aware of any repairs or replacements that need to be done.

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