CSIA and NFI certified chimney sweep serving Jacksonville, FL

FAQ Standard Chimney Sweep

Mike the chimney guy's 1926 fireplace, recently swept and in operation.

What is included in a basic sweep?

A basic sweep includes an initial safety inspection, a full sweep of the chimney flue liner, and creosote removal inside of the fireplace. If you have glass doors, I will make sure those are clean as well :)

Does it make a mess?

Sweeping a chimney is a messy job but I use the proper techniques, tools, and a little bit of patience to make sure that your home remains clean during the process.


Here is a quick walkthrough of a typical chimney sweep service.


I start at the front door with shoe removal and bring in only clean drop cloths to set in front of your fireplace and encapsulate the firebox. If furniture is in the area, I cover areas of the furniture to prevent accidental contact with cleaning tools as they are brought in and removed from the home. 


Once the basics are set up, I then bring in all of the cleaning tools and vacuum system. Once the Nikro LV10 vacuum is properly set up and on, I begin the sweeping process. 

Depending on the amount of creosote build up in the system, this is where patience comes into play. A dirty system will take longer for the vacuum to bring in all of the airborne debris that is stirred up and I have to be mindful of the speed of cleaning so that we don't get an avalanche of soot coming down all at once! 


After the chimney has been swept, you will also see the vacuum running an additional 5+ minutes to help remove the remaining suspended particles in the flue system.


Once everything has been swept and cleaned, I carefully remove all of the tools and drop cloths from around your fireplace and open and close your door with gloves and paper towels. I might be slightly OCD, but I treat my customers homes with respect and want the experience to be pleasant with no surprises. 

What should be done prior to service?

Ceiling fans in the room should be turned off to prevent competing drafts, no fires should be burned 48 hours prior, and ideally a 6' x 6' clear area around the fireplace would make for a great working area. 

Do not worry about removing anything from the fireplace mantel and be sure to remove any pet birds from the area before the service, and at least 48 hours after the service to ensure the safety of their very delicate respiratory system.

why won't you sweep my chimney?

During my initial inspection, if a life safety hazard is discovered, it is my duty to inform the customer and in certain situation, not sweep the chimney (you will not be charged for a chimney sweep in this situation). 


These situations include but are not limited to the following:

-A deteriorating chimney where further damage could be caused by a sweep.

-Severely rusted or disconnected flue liners. 

-Improperly braced chimney systems.

-A chimney that has Federally protected active chimney swifts.



How often should I sweep my chimney?

With regular usage, it is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association that your system be swept and inspected once a year for safety. 

Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.

Level 1, 2, and 3 Inspections

Chim-Scan chimney inspection camera systems for our level II chimney inspection and sweep.

What is a level 1 inspection?

If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.

​In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible**portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. Your technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.


* Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish.  

** Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings. ​

What is a level 2 inspection?

A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.

There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.

When a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible* portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.


* Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish.  

** Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings. ​

What is a level 3 Inspection?

A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary.

Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.


* Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish. 

** Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings. ​

Other FAQ

What is hepa filtration?

HEPA filters use a special type of mat that is built out of randomly-arranged fibers, usually made of fiberglass. Each individual fiber is extremely small, between 0.5 and 2.0 micrometers in width. As contaminants and pollutants are pushed through this filter, they are trapped between these fibers, and are unable to pass through. Read more about HEPA filtration here. 

I have birds in my chimney, what can i do?

Chimney Swifts are a Federally protected migratory bird that cannot be removed when occupying your chimney. You must wait until the swifts have migrated South for the year and then the system can be thoroughly cleaned and a proper chimney cap installed to prevent entry next season. 

SHOULD BIRD BE KEPT IN THE SAME ROOM AS A FIREPLACE?

The general consensus is no. Pet birds have incredibly delicate respiratory systems and can easy become ill or die with less than ideal air quality. I will have more information to come in my April newsletter. 

What tools do i need for my fireplace?

The most important tools start with safety. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential and can save your life. Additionally, having operational fire extinguishers are key for safety. 

During fireplace use, a four piece fireplace toolset will do the trick for basic operation. Make sure that you have a tool that can grab a log that falls out of place, it can be a common occurrence. 

How should i operate a pre-fabricated fireplace?

Pre-fabricated fireplaces can be very particular systems and how they are operated, even down to the amount of logs that should be used at once, comes in the users manual. 

Typically the users manual has been thrown away or lost over the years but I have a pretty good success rate at finding a copy for the homeowner to use. 

I would like to learn more about fireplace in general

Visit my blog! I am constantly updating my blog and if you see something you need more information about not listed, reach out and I will be more than happy to help.