Those roaring fires, however romantic, leave an oily residue called creosote on the inside of the chimney. This highly combustible residue, if allowed to build, can serve as fuel for chimney fires that often spread to the roof.
Orange County has a number of chimney cleaning services, some of which even feature chimney sweeps dressed in the traditional top hat and tails. These services recommend a cleaning for every cord of softwood burned, or two cords of hardwood (softwood leaves more residue). A complete cleaning usually includes an inspection, a cleaning with wire brush and vacuum, and a check of the damper hinges. These companies can also install chimney caps or spark arresters, which are now required on new homes.
While no license is required, many of the larger companies are certified by the Wood Heating Alliance and belong to state and national chimney guilds. It is recommended that homeowners choose a company that is insured for company and vehicle liability.
Following is a sample of chimney sweep services available in Orange County and their prices for a complete cleaning of a single chimney. Companies may vary in cleaning method and exact services included.
Company Phone Number One-Story Two-Story Master Sweep (714) 539-6446 $67 $77 A Lucky Chimney Sweeping (714) 953-9855 80 80 Red Hot Chimney Sweeps (714) 973-7543 75 85 Grimebusters (714) 633-1950 60 70 Blodgett's (714) 530-5330 60 80 Sears (800) 537-3600 85 95
Prices subject to change.
Source: Individual companies