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$289 chimney sweep.... you have got to be kidding me

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by par0thead151, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    i am shopping around for a good sweep in the milwaukee/waukesha Wisconsin area and so far i have only found them in the $200-$300 range. this is insane. all they do is run a brush up and down the chimney!
    does anyone know of a more economical sweep in the south eastern wisconsin area?

    worse comes to worse i will be buying the tools to do it myself!
    there is no way i will pay $300 a year to have such a remedial job done.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What is the annual maintenance service charge on your central heating unit?
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yes, for less than $100 you can buy the equipment. Most chimneys are fairly easy to clean and takes very little time. Sometimes it is just better to do it yourself anyway.
  4. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Most of us bought the tools and do it ourselves. As long as you are OK with being up on your roof and taking the chance of falling off and breaking bones or dying. It could even be possible you could clean it bottom up.

    Btw, what do you think is a fair price for a chimney cleaning?
  5. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    it costs me only parts as i do that myself.
    i am certified for HVAC repair.
    it pays to learn these things when my immediate family in the MKE area have 1 business, 1 storage facility, and 5 homes.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think about $100-$120 for a basic cleaning is a fair price. Way back when, they started out at 35-40.
    Prices have gone way up in some big cities and high income areas. I remember talking to a sweep who worked on cape cod - he charged $200 for a chimney cap installed, while most other sweeps I know were charging less than $100.

    Dig around - you'll likely find a younger buck who wants the business. A decent sweep can do 6 jobs (at least) per day if they are relatively easy - and $700 or so gross sales per day is nothing to sneeze at these days!
  7. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    100-150 would be more reasonable.
    it does take less than a half hour to do, or so i have read from posts on here and elsewhere.
    so figure a 15 min drive from a store, 15 min back. say a hour round trip to each job site.
    $289 for one hour of labor is insane. i get paid that much for 10 hours of labor...
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Works for me! :cheese:
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Craig but possibly up to $150 in some areas.
  10. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Guess I'm lucky enough to have a small ranch and the pipe is easy to get to. Climb up the ladder with the 4 rods and brush attached, take off the cap, run the brush down and up a few times. Clean the cap (usually that's all that's needed anyway), put it back on, and back down I go. Oh, but first make sure the stove door is closed. :cheese:
    Get inside the stove to clean out the residue, and you're gooder to go.
    I'm a hands on kind of person, but I understand that some of us aren't, or the roof is not accessible for a variety of reasons.
    When I get too old and the knees get worse than they are, I'll hire someone to do it, but I think I'd get a couple more estimates if they wanted that kind of money. YMWV
  11. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Way more than what I charge. Typically I charge $125 per flue with some discounts available. But really, a half hour and that's all they do? FWIW I'm usually on a job for 1.5 to 2 hours, and sweeping is about a quarter to a third of the time. I'm not here to rip you off and take your money.
  12. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    we charge 88 in the off season for a standard sweep, 98 during the season
    150 is a reasonable price for an insert w/o liner
    although, i have billed over $300 on a sweep before...(it was a 2hr drive, then a snowmobile ride to a 3 story a-frame though)
  13. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    my house should be easy.
    its a 1st season cleaning.
    lined wood burning insert.
    level ground outside to access the roof/chimney.
    88-100$ is very reasonable. i would pay to have that done, anything over 150 and i will be doing it myself.
    i have called 6 places so far the best price is 210
    is there any reason to go with a "certified" sweep?
    http://www.csia.org/

    or does that just pad the price tag on the job done.
  14. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    after calling 18 local sweeps, i finally found a reasonable one, and low and behold, he lives 4 miles away from me.
    i bet i can negotiate a yearly rate with him and let him sweep at his convenience.
    he is asking $120 for the sweep
    thats 80 less than the next closest bid thus far.
  15. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    As a service tech myself I'm constantly bombarded with the screw-you comments. My standard reply is I will give a discount if the customer will allow me to use their teleporter, and thereby the 10 minutes it takes me to fix a problem will only take me 10 minutes, instead of the 1-2hr travel time. Maybe if I can use their tools, stock, and license I'd be willing to charge them only for the YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS it took me to get so good I can diagnose most problems in 10 minutes and a minimum of parts instead of days, multiple trips, and hundreds of dollars in extra parts just because I (or the customer) doesn't really know what I'm doing.

    A chimney is a simple machine, but simple don't mean easy. I've got a feeling they're charging $300 because someone who is willing to do it themselves would do it to save $100 as soon as $300. Not a bad idea....... Congrats for the Sweeps for not cutting each other's throats.
  16. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    its called competition.
    it is a good thing for everyone involved. only the efficient businesses who do a good job survive. in this economy, expect everyone to start shopping around for everything and anything.

    the sweep i found for $120 is certified. so it is not some guy with a brush who just started doing this.
    all the sweeps i contacted were within a 5-10 min drive from my home.
  17. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Competition? Never heard of it.

    I'm not justifying the price, but the business model. If someone wants the service then pay for it. For $300 a customer should be able to get all their heating appliances serviced for the year.
  18. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    for $300 i would be only getting my stove serviced, not my furnace, or base board heaters
    300 is a exorbitant amount for a sweep.

    I have about 25 local sweeps to choose from, and all but 1-2 of them want over 200$ for the service. granted most of them are larger chains/brick and mortar stores compared to a guy with low overhead who does it on the side for extra cash. I prefer to support the smaller businesses as i myself am a small business owner. it just so happens that they are almost always more competitively priced.
    im just glad i found a sweep within a reasonable price range. now i just need to finish cutting next years wood!
  19. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    First off, I was willing to buy the tools and do it myself. It's not a difficult task..........just a tad dirty, and is "work" by definition......something I'm not afraid of.

    Then bring the wife into the discussion, who's been watching me get on the roof of our house for years, apparently with gritting teeth. I've never fallen, nearly or otherwise, and in spite of her, I COULD just get up there an do it, but I have to ask myself.............is hassling with her, worth it? Nope..........not in MY world.

    So I'll hire a person who has the tools, and understand that it costs me something (we shopped around too) to have it done. Hopefully I can continue to receive competative rates.

    On one side of it, I have a good feeling way down deep, knowing that the person doing the job is a "professional" and that the job will be done the best possible way.

    The thought of asking a Chimney Sweep to get up on my roof in January (not during the "thaw") is what concerns me.....for him/her or even me. We've got folks in here (that I will not name) who live in Maine, (cough, cough) who state that they have their chimney done (or do it themselves, I don't recall), once a month. "I" for one, would not relish the notion of me or anyone else negotiating the snow and ice, to clear a chimney.

    In any case, the typical price quotes I got were a couple hundred as well...........I see it as paying for mileage, labor and the job itself. I know a few car mechanics who charge that much, just to lift the hood and stare into the engine well!!!

    -Soupy1957
  20. ManiacPD

    ManiacPD Member

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    I'm scared to death of heights. I take the cap off and brush from the bottom to the top. I think the rods and brush were about $80.

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  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Um, looks like that is doing a good job of burning off the galvanized coating. Duct piping is not appropriate for wood stove connector pipe.
  22. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    I have cleaned and inspected my own chimneys and flues for years.
    Except just last year, I asked the Jotul dealer tech to show me the dis-assembly/reassemble of my new Oslo.
    A piece of cake!

    I clean it all from the bottom up!
  23. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    Same here! I have a question, do you vacuum up what comes out of the chimney or is that extra(going in the house)
  24. ManiacPD

    ManiacPD Member

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    It did a great job burning it off! I changed it to single wall black pipe shortly after this picture was taken. This was temporary as the flue is 7" and I was anxious to try it. My local hardware store had to special order 7 inch black pipe.
  25. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If I was a sweep and found out 95% of all other competing companies were charging 2-3 times my price I'd kick myself in the ass. Anyhow, going rate around my house is $100 off peak, $125 peak season price give or take. I still bought the tools for 1/2 that much and get both boiler and stove done at the same time in about 40 minutes if you count washing up.
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