Trust Us for Chimney Sweeping & Fireplace Cleaning Services in Broadway & Raleigh

There’s nothing quite like unwinding by the fireplace after a long day or gathering with your loved ones around a warm, crackling fire to celebrate a holiday. For many, the fireplace is the heart of the home. That’s why it’s surprising that so many homeowners forget about their fireplaces and chimneys when it’s time for home maintenance – especially when a chimney sweeping once a year can prevent significant problems and save you money over time.

For close to 20 years now, Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service has provided exceptional chimney services to homeowners in the Broadway and Raleigh area. From chimney cleanings to fireplace repairs, we can do it all.

Get in touch with us now by scheduling an appointment on our website or by calling us at 919-747-1859.

Our Chimney Technicians Are Trained & Certified

Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service uses the most advanced tools and equipment to clean your chimney. We conduct all of our work following the guidelines set by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and we are also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG). With these credentials, you can trust that the technicians at Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service always stay on the cutting edge of the latest technologies in chimney sweeping and fireplace repair.

During a service, Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service’s chimney sweeping professionals will:

  • clean and inspect your chimney
  • go over any and all inspection results/photos with you prior to leaving your home
  • provide a mess-free chimney cleaning service
  • treat your home with respect
  • clean up thoroughly after the work is complete

Feel free to talk to your Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service technician and ask any questions you have about our service.

What’s the Difference Between a Chimney Sweeping & Chimney Cleaning?

You may have come across the terms “chimney sweeping” and “chimney cleaning” during your internet search and are probably wondering if there’s a difference between the two.

Quick answer? There is no real difference between the terms, but it is important to point out that it’s nearly impossible to perfectly clean a chimney.

Longer answer… Sweeping is a more accurate description of what we do. We use specialized tools and brushes to sweep your chimney free of as much dirt, soot, and creosote as possible. Just remember that your chimney is a ventilation system for smoke, carbon monoxide, and other dangerous toxins, and while we can clear most of it from the chimney, it will never be spotlessly “clean” – not like a tile floor or bathtub might be.

With that said, we know our customers will switch between the terms, and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter to us whether you ask for a cleaning or a sweeping. We understand what you mean, and we’ve got you covered either way.

How Often Should a Chimney Be Cleaned?

As a rule of thumb, you should get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year – even if you don’t use it regularly. That is, once a year or when there is 1/8″ of creosote buildup inside the chimney and flue system… whichever comes first! That’s the recommendation from our friends at the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The frequency of cleanings could change based on a few different factors, though.

  • What type of fuel do you burn?
  • Do you use your fireplace a lot?
  • Have you had past issues with creosote buildup?

These are all questions to discuss with your chimney technician to create a personalized cleaning schedule that makes sense for your family.

What Are Signs My Chimney Needs Cleaning?

You may not be able to tell when your chimney is in need of a good sweeping. In fact, it may look completely fine to you. …but there could be a mountain of surprises beneath the surface.

A mama raccoon may have made herself at home or there may be creosote on parts of the flue that you can’t see. Scheduling an annual inspection is the simplest and most effective way to find out if your chimney needs to be cleaned. That said, there are some signs that you can monitor if you’re in between inspections:

chimney sweep technician vacuuming fireplace firebox
  • There’s a lot of soot. Do you see a decent buildup of soot or dirt inside your fireplace or on the walls of the chimney? That’s a sign that it’s time to call Mr. Smokestack to schedule an appointment.
  • Smoke is backing up into your living space. A blockage caused by the buildup of creosote and soot could prevent smoke from properly venting through the chimney.
  • The fireplace is smelly. A change in how your fireplace smells is a warning sign. A pungent, acidic smell is the calling card of creosote, while a musty odor points to water damage.
  • It’s hard to start a fire. Debris or blockages can restrict airflow, making it more difficult to start a fire and keep it going.
  • You suspect the presence of critters. A pest infestation is never pleasant, and it can get out of control if it’s not caught early enough. Wild animals aren’t good roommates. They smell bad, make too much noise, and usually leave a mess behind, so you’ll want them out soon.
  • You’re having issues with the damper. If the flue damper isn’t opening or fails to close completely, it could be because there’s some debris buildup.
  • It’s been a while since your last cleaning. If you can’t remember the last time your chimney was swept, you’re probably due for a cleaning.

What Problems Can a Dirty Chimney Cause?

A dirty chimney is more than an eyesore – it’s a threat to the safety of your home and your family. The following list highlights a few issues that a dirty chimney can cause:

  • Increased risk of a chimney fire. One of the biggest risks of a dirty chimney is the potential for chimney fires. Creosote is highly flammable and can spark a fire even in its early stages. Blockages caused by debris, abandoned animal nests, and insulation can be kindling for a fire.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning. A blocked or dirty chimney can’t vent smoke and toxins properly. This increases the chances of carbon monoxide – a colorless and odorless gas – leaking into your living space. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal if it’s not detected early.
  • Poor ventilation. Creosote and debris buildup can obstruct the chimney, limiting the flow of air and smoke. This can cause smoke to back up into your home, leading to poor indoor air quality.
  • Mold and mildew growth. A chimney that hasn’t been cleaned is a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. It’s not hard for water to find its way into your chimney system if it hasn’t been kept up.
  • Higher energy bills. A dirty chimney will impact how well your fireplace works. A buildup of debris will restrict airflow, and your fireplace will have a harder time producing heat – meaning you won’t be able to rely on it as a primary source of heating.
  • Deterioration of brick and mortar. The presence of creosote and debris can lead to masonry deterioration, causing cracks, spalling, and other structural issues within the chimney system.
  • Increased maintenance costs. By not keeping up with regular chimney maintenance, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of costly repairs in the future. Chimney cleanings and inspections are crucial to identifying small problems before they escalate into bigger ones.

All in all, neglecting the care your chimney needs on a regular basis is going to put strains on home safety, overall comfort levels, and even your budget. It’s well worth investing in an affordable chimney sweep and inspection each summer to ensure you’re ready for the fall burning season.

Ready to get on our books? Our certified and experienced chimney technicians are here for you. Call or book online with us today.

How Long Does a Chimney Sweeping Take?

We completely get it – home maintenance appointments can be a real inconvenience to your day. The last thing we want is to keep you from enjoying your long-awaited day off. As with most chimney services, it’s hard to give an exact timeline because each chimney is different… 

That said, most of the time, a standard chimney sweeping for a fireplace should take around an hour or two. Sometimes, a cleaning can take an entire day if the chimney hasn’t been properly maintained. If you have a lot of creosote buildup or there’s a family of skunks that needs to be relocated, it’s naturally going to take a little longer. But this isn’t the norm.

One thing we can confirm is that we won’t take any shortcuts, and we guarantee a thorough and detailed cleaning. When you’re ready to schedule your annual chimney sweeping, turn to Mr. Smokestack for all of your chimney needs. You can schedule by phone at 919-747-1859 or book an appointment online.

What Is Creosote? Is It Dangerous?

Chimney fires can cause massive devastation to a home. The flames from a chimney fire can quickly escape to the walls and roof, engulfing your home in flames within a matter of minutes. Your home is a priceless possession, and our number one priority is to help you protect it. We never want to see our friends and neighbors face the pain and loss caused by a home fire.

But there is good news – most chimney fires are preventable with regular chimney inspections and sweepings.

In many cases, chimney fires are caused by creosote buildup. Creosote is a dangerously combustible, tar-like substance that is a natural byproduct of burning wood. Chimney sweeping services remove this buildup, making your chimney much safer and less susceptible to fire.

There are three stages of creosote buildup:

  • Stage one. This is the earliest stage of creosote buildup where it appears as a thin, dust-like layer coating your flue. Creosote is easiest to remove at this stage, but it is still dangerous. Remember, a spark or a spike in temperature is all it takes to start a chimney fire.
  • Stage two. At this stage, creosote is thicker and features hardened layers that can look like shiny, crusty flakes or small chips. Stage Two creosote can start to restrict the airflow in your chimney, which will impact your ability to safely start a fire.
  • Stage three. This is the red zone of creosote buildup, and it will appear as a glazed deposit or could resemble glass. Creosote in this form is a major fire hazard and a chimney fire can ignite at relatively low temperatures. It’s harder to remove stage three creosote – if it’s bad enough, a section of your chimney may need to be removed for better access.

Can I Prevent Creosote Buildup?

As we mentioned earlier, creosote happens naturally, as a result of burning a wood-fueled fire. There’s no way to stop it completely if you use your fireplace, even with having regular professional maintenance completed.

However, there are some things you can do to slow down the accumulation of creosote.

  • Warm the flue before starting a fire. A cold flue promotes condensation which leads to more creosote buildup.
  • Only use seasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been chopped and left out to dry for at least six months. It burns hotter and cleaner than green wood or artificial logs.
  • Monitor the airflow. A lack of airflow means your fire isn’t getting enough oxygen to burn efficiently – and creosote forms as a result. Try opening the damper to promote good airflow and prevent buildup.
  • Keep up with regular maintenance. Although we can’t prevent creosote entirely or stop it from recurring, a regular chimney sweeping helps keep creosote at manageable levels so that your fireplace is safe to use when you need it.

What Are Creosote Sweeping Logs?

There are all sorts of products available in stores that are marketed as easy solutions to chimney sweeping. Creosote sweeping logs – also called chimney sweeping logs or chimney cleanings logs – are one of these, presenting themselves as a cheap alternative to professional cleaning services.

Do creosote sweeping logs actually work? So, yes – in a sense. These logs contain chemicals that help break down and loosen creosote deposits on the interior walls of the chimney. In this way, they can help make the debris easier to remove.

That said, their best use is as a complement to chimney cleanings. You can use creosote sweeping logs in between cleanings to help curb creosote buildup, but they shouldn’t be seen as a viable replacement for chimney sweeping.

To sum up, creosote sweeping logs should never replace a chimney cleaning from a qualified technician.

How Much Does Chimney Cleaning Cost?

As much as we would love to answer that question with a firm price estimate, we simply can’t. The cost of a chimney sweeping can be influenced by several things. We’d have to inspect your chimney to see its condition, what stage of creosote buildup it has, if there are blockages that need to be removed, whether or not animals are living in it, and other factors, like its size and location.

If we uncover a stage three creosote buildup, for instance, that’s more intensive work that’s going to be more expensive. Likewise, animal removal is a job we’re fully equipped to handle, but it will be reflected in the final cost. This is why we encourage regular inspections and cleanings – fewer issues equals less money spent.

Can I Clean My Chimney Myself?

Between creosote sweeping logs, chimney cleaning kits, and all of the other tools that are easy to buy online or in-store, it’s easy to see why you think you can handle cleaning your chimney all on your own.

But hold on a second before you dive in, and think about the consequences. Without experience, you can risk damaging your chimney or not removing enough creosote and soot. That’s a lot of time and effort to put in only for your fireplace to not be safe to use.

For the best results, call in a CSIA-certified chimney sweep for your cleaning. There’s a reason techs in the industry undergo extensive training and rigorous examinations. We have the skills, equipment, and expertise to make sure the job gets done the way it’s supposed to.

Schedule Your Next Chimney Cleaning with Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service

Don’t put off your yearly chimney sweeping any longer. A clean chimney is a safe chimney, and we want your family to be protected whether you use your chimney all year long or just once in a while. You can trust the team at Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service for your annual chimney sweeping and all of your chimney needs.

Call us now at 919-747-1859 or book an appointment on our website.


Our chimney and fireplace inspection can tell you right away if you need other chimney or vent services to keep things working efficiently and safely.