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Chimney and Fireplace FAQs

How long should it take for a Chimney Sweep to clean my chimney?

A good and thorough chimney sweep and inspection will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes per flue for most chimneys. The sweep will not only clean the smoke chamber and firebox, but will do a thorough sweep of the flue from bottom to top. If someone tells you they can sweep your chimney in a mere 15 minutes for an amazing low price, you need to decide if that is really the type of a sweep you are looking for to insure the safety of your home and family. At Chim Chimney our sweep and inspection covers everything from the firebox to the cap. We also offer a closed circuit camera scan to view the inside of the flue from bottom to top (flue size and access permitting) to determine if the flue is free of defects and functioning properly. This helps insure your family’s safety. Any defects found will be noted and you will be given a full written report and estimate before our technician leaves.

I have proposals from several chimney sweeps, why are the prices so different?

In Chimney Sweeping, pretty much like anything else, prices for chimney projects can vary greatly due to many variables. Some points to keep in mind as you sort through various proposals and their respective prices:

  1. Are the proposals all recommending the same solutions? Be sure the proposals are scoping out the same exact job. For example, if your chimney is leaking, are you getting a “patch job” which may only delay the inevitable larger rebuild, or is the proposal for a full rebuild?
  2. What materials are being used? Is the contractor using the proper materials? For example, are the liners the correct size for your fireplace, furnace, wood burning stove or any other appliance? Is it UL approved?
  3. Is the contractor fully licensed and insured?
  4. Does the contractor guarantee his work? What warranties do they offer?
For quotes, questions or more information, please call us at Chim Chimney Inc. at 615-364-8987.
Why do I need a chimney cap?

Chimney caps are vital for several reasons including:

  1. Keeping out the weather – The chimney cap prevents rain and snow from entering the chimney. Such moisture can cause the damper and firebox to rust, leading to expensive repairs. Moisture is also the chimney’s enemy, when mixed with the sulfur laden soot that is already in your chimney, it becomes sulfuric acid and attacks the inner walls of the flue and mortar joints leading to expensive repairs.
  2. Keeping out Birds & Animals – Chimney Caps will prevent birds, bats, squirrels or other animals from entering the chimney where they sometimes make nests blocking the flow of the chimney which could result in carbon monoxide leakage into the home.
  3. To Discourage Back Draft – Where certain wind conditions exist, a chimney cap can help discourage downdrafts.
  4. A Spark Arrestor – The wire mesh reduces the amount of sparks and large ash that is normally blown into the air and onto rooftops which could catch a roof on fire.
Why does my fireplace smell?

Your fireplace always has an odor, but a normal draft takes the smell up the flue to the outside. If you smell your fireplace, outside air is being sucked into your house.

As a general rule, a chimney sweeping is in order if you haven’t done it recently. Any buildup of soot in the chimney will increase odor problems. Sweeping is just the first step and will not remove the embedded creosote that has penetrated the masonry of the fireplace. Creosote, especially when wet, has a very powerful, obnoxious odor.

Water penetration and negative pressure in the house are the main causes of fireplace odor. So the next step is to insure that there is a chimney cap on the top of the flue and that the exterior of the masonry is somewhat “waterproof.”

Cleaning the chimney, by sweeping or performing a creosote removal, stopping water penetration and install a chimney cap may help to solve some of the odor problems. In some cases the house or room could be causing negative pressure and sucking outside air into your home, even through a closed damper and glass doors.

This often occurs during a wet, hot season following major and minor weatherization or venting changes and improvements. New furnaces, sky lights, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, windows and new roofing are often enough to change the interior pressure from a positive to a negative.

All the air being forced or exhausted out of the home has to come in to the house from somewhere as make-up or replacement air. This replacement air always re-enters the house through the “path of least resistance” just like water or electricity. It’s easier to come into the house down a chimney flue that’s already cooler than the home, than through the normal openings in the house. All of these factors can be corrected.

If I am missing a brick on my chimney, is it necessary to get it repaired?

Yes. Loose or missing bricks and chimney deterioration can be symptomatic of a major problem. In many cases, minor repairs done early will save on huge repair bills later. In all cases this condition should be checked by a professional as soon as possible to avoid the dangers of fire hazard or structural failure.

Why should I have my chimney waterproofed?

Waterproofing is the best preventative maintenance you can give the exterior of your chimney against premature aging and expensive repairs. Brick is porous. Heavy rains and melting ice fill pores and expand when temperatures drop. This leads to the failure of the mortar and bricks. We only use products specifically developed for waterproofing chimneys. They are a vapor permeable, non-film, water repellent.

My fireplace is smoky. Why is that?

It can be a multitude of things, and it may take one of our experienced sweeps to figure it out. But here are a few obvious things you can try. 1) Make sure the damper is all the way open. I know that sounds obvious, but open the damper all the way and look with a flashlight to prove it is open all the way. 2) Make sure you are burning with the fire at the far rear of the fire-box. Most fireplaces will not work with the logs in the center of the hearth. That alone will make a difference.
For more information on chimneys and chimney sweeping, please call us at Chim Chimney Inc. at 615-364-8987

How often does my dryer vent need to be cleaned?

We recommend that your dryer vent system be cleaned annually. This can vary based on the amount of laundry that you dry. If at any point your dryer becomes less efficient, taking more than one cycle to dry, you should schedule an appointment to have them cleaned and inspected.

What is creosote?

Wood is never burned completely. The smoke contains some un-burned gases and vapor like fog of un-burned tar-like liquids. These condense along the sides of the stove pipes or chimney and become a flammable, crusty build-up called creosote.

What type of wood is best to burn?

Hardwood would be the best choice. It burns hotter and lasts longer. This allows the gas to go up the chimney quicker, meaning less creosote.

Can repairs be completed at the time of the chimney cleaning?

Usually repairs are scheduled on a subsequent appointment to the initial chimney cleaning and inspection as there is no way to anticipate the time or materials needed for chimney repairs.

How often does my chimney need to be cleaned?

It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association that your chimney be inspected annually and swept as needed. A certified chimney sweep will be able to determine whether or not your system needs to be swept by the amount of soot built-up and debris in your flue.


Reviews From Our Customers


One word, amazing! I have never used a company that exceeded my expectations until I used Chim Chimney. Everyone was so friendly. The technicians even took time to interact with my children. The service was excellent, but the staff made them amazing!

Beth S.

Nashville, TN

We used Chim Chimney to clean our dryer vent a couple of times each year. After using another company with less than mediocre service, it was nice to find such a respectable company. The technicians are pleasant and never leave a mess. We have been using them for years and will continue to do so.

Danny P.

Franklin, TN

Very thorough. They left no stones unturned. Job was delivered as promised. And better than I anticipated. We are more than pleased with the work they performed.

John J.

Franklin, TN

We were overly pleased with the work that your company provided! The staff was very professional, friendly and knowledgeable. It was a pleasant experiences from the scheduling , all the way to the repairs on our chimney were complete. We are enjoying our fireplace for the first time in 11 years! Thank you for incredible service!

Melinda V.

Old Hickory, TN

I have been using Chim Chimney for years. I call on them every year to clean and inspect my chimney. I have yet to have a bad experience. They are very personable and always on time. Definitely a pleasure!

Amanda B.

Mt. Juliet, TN

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