Frequently Asked Questions


    • Why do I need to have my chimney inspected and swept?

      The primary reason for having your fireplace inspected is to see if there is at least 1/8 inch of creosote buildup in the chimney. This would warrant having the chimney swept in order to avoid the risk of a chimney fire. The inspection will also allow for spotting possible fire hazards and if repairs are needed to either the fireplace or the chimney structure.

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  • How often should I have my chimney inspected and /or swept?

    According to the National Fire Protection Association 211, “Chimneys, fireplaces and vents shall be inspected* at least once a year. Cleaning maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”  It is not possible to observe most clearances unless one has witnessed all construction of the chimney and surrounding structure.

    There are additional times when the chimney and venting systems should be inspected and/or swept right away, such as:

    • After any unusual, or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike, or earthquake.
    • Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney or vent.
    • Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances or going from woodburning to gas logs (or vice versa).
    • Prior to major system repairs

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  • What is creosote?

    Chimney creosote is a natural byproduct of burning materials such as wood, wood byproducts, or manufactured logs in your fireplace. Its appearance is generally a brown or black fluffy substance that adheres to the chimney walls, damper and flue, but it can over time turn into a hard resin-like glaze that is more difficult to brush out. Creosote is highly flammable, and becomes more dangerous as it grows thicker with every fire.

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  • Does it make a mess when you sweep my chimney?

    We take extra care to make sure that there will be NO MESS. Our vacuums have micron filters and were specifically designed for chimney sweeping. They are loud but do an excellent job of containment. The area that my equipment and tools are on is covered first with tarps and runners. With a masonry chimney, the front of the fireplace is also sealed as an extra precaution when I go up to the top of the chimney to brush down the creosote. A prefab chimney is swept from below, so we can maintain control over how much creosote dust is coming back down into the fireplace where the vacuum will suck up the airborne particles.

    We are not in any hurry to get the job done. Making sure that your house stays dust free is our top priority!

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  • How long will it take if you sweep it?

    If the chimney and fireplace only require an inspection, we are generally done in roughly 20-30 minutes. If the chimney does need to be swept, the process will usually take between one to one and a half hours. Access to the chimney, and how long of a distance there is between where I park my van to where I am setting up my equipment at the fireplace will factor into how long the sweeping will take.

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  • What do I need to do before the chimney sweep arrives?

    Please remove all items from the front and sides of the fireplace. The first thing that I will need to do is to look up inside the fireplace and chimney flue to determine the level of creosote buildup. Then if possible, clear an area in front of the fireplace of approximately 8 x 8 feet so that I have adequate room to lay down my tarp and runners to protect your floor and furniture. Keep in mind, I will also need to create a pathway of runners across your carpeting to your fireplace for my big vacuum on wheels to be rolled in and out of the house.

    I love animals, but if your dog is excitable or in any way unfriendly to a stranger, please have them secured elsewhere. It would be best to have all pets out of the room since my loud vacuum could cause undue stress on your pets. Let me know if you have cats so that I know to be extra careful about leaving doors open.

    I love children too. But its important that they are not in my way when I’m trying to perform my job. Please don’t just leave them in my care. When I am sweeping, my vacuums are running the entire time. The vacuums are very loud and children are absolutely NOT ALLOWED to be in the room with me due to potential damage to their precious little ears!

    One last note. I will not enter the house if there are unattended children present that are under the ages of 16 years old. We have taken care of chimneys on military bases and this is the age that the military uses for allowing service people into a house, and that’s good enough for me.

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  • What repairs do you do?

    The fireplace and chimney repairs that we primarily do are patching masonry fireboxes, repairing a stuck damper or (if not repairable) installing a top sealing damper, installing chimney caps, replacing fire screens, and resurfacing chimney crowns.

    If the job exceeds our scope of work, we will refer you to extremely qualified chimney professionals within our industry.

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  • Are you Certified? Have a California State Contractor’s License? Bonded? Insured?

    I carry multiple certifications in the following areas:

  • CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep #3159
  • Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician #157
  • F.I.R.E. Certified Technician #FCT-012


  • Terri also carries the following certifications:
  • Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician #557
  • F.I.R.E. Certified Technician #052
  • We also carry a California State Contractor’s License #749202 and am bonded as a contractor. We carry $2 million liability insurance and, of course, also carry insurance on the work van as well.
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  • Do you wear a top hat?

    I do not wear a top hat and I don’t sing and dance. I come to your house dressed as a service professional (in black, of course!), not as an entertainer. I once did a street fair in top hat and tails, and when I was out walking around, the kids were skipping behind me asking when the magic show was going to begin. That did it!

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  • Final Words

    If you don’t find your answer here, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at either 858-573-1672 or 619-466-1672, or email us at:

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