Fireplace opening sealed off with plastic sheeting to prevent creosote from coming into the living room while sweeping the chimney.
Fireplace opening sealed off with plastic sheeting to prevent creosote from coming into the living room while sweeping the chimney.

Creosote build-up on a chimney rain cap. The lid of the chimney cap has been removed.
Creosote build-up on a chimney rain cap. The lid of the chimney cap has been removed.

Chimney cleaning in the Portland metro area occurs on a year-round basis. You may come across some homeowners who engage in DIY chimney cleaning projects, and you may consider chimney cleaning as an easy task. You could attempt to engage in chimney sweeping by yourself to save money. This kind of approach may end in chimney or fireplace failure.

This is an important annual maintenance item that should be handled by the experts. Professional chimney sweep providers are trained to inspect, clean, and repair chimneys and fireplaces. They have the right equipment for creosote removal and the experience for inspecting your chimney and fireplace for deterioration and damage. Making sure everything is functioning properly.  When the work is performed they’ll protect your home from dirt & soot. 

Creating a Mess? What are your odds?

If you have a wood-burning stove, there are greater chances of you creating a mess. That is because pipes must be disconnected and moved outdoors before cleaning. Next, you should sweep the chimney completely. The right type of brush should be used to prevent damages to the chimney pipes. With a professional chimney cleaning service provider, you don’t have to worry about “brushes” or the “flues”. The experts will handle it for you!

Floors-protected-with-carpet-runners-and-movers-blankets
Floors-protected-with-carpet-runners-and-movers-blankets

The Crucial Stage!

Inspection is an important part of the chimney cleaning procedure. Most chimneys can be competently inspected with today’s extremely bright flashlights, however. there are times when a video inspection is called for; a chimney flue that is long and takes a turn to the right is an example. The technician looks for clogs, breaks, flammable nests, cracked flue tiles, construction defects, and clearance from combustible materials. If your chimney has the potential for carbon monoxide or fire hazards, the technician will let you know, as well as submit a written Chimney Condition Report.  

The Chimney Condition Report

There are 21 points on a standard inspection form that establish a baseline inspection. This is an image of a chimney inspection report form (click on the image to enlarge):

Selecting a chimney cleaning service-

By law in Oregon, chimney cleaning and repair service businesses need to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. This ensures that a contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured, and that in-house employees are covered by a Workman’s Compensation policy. It is possible that a single person operation would hire temporary help through a temporary labor agency that provides the workers’ compensation insurance. In this case, the contractor would not be required to have a WC policy for him or herself. Click here to find out if a chimney service is registered with the CCB.

The ugly reality about the CCB-

The CCB (Oregon Construction Contractors Board) does not test chimney sweeps on their knowledge or skill in the trade. Nor do they test for masonry skills or woodstove installation skills; the CCB assumes that the contractor knows what he or she is doing. Do your research when selecting a chimney cleaning and repair company.