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When Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

There is no hard and fast rule for when your chimney should be cleaned, particularly in Texas where warm winters, types of wood, and burning habits widely vary. The Chimney Safety Institute of America generally advises that your chimney should be cleaned whenever there is a ⅛-inch buildup of soot in the chimney or fireplace or if there is a “glazed” appearance in the flue.

But how can you tell what’s inside your chimney?

The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney and fireplace system inspected at least once a year. This annual inspection is the best way for us to let you know whether it’s time for your next cleaning. If you don’t need cleaning, then we’ll see you next year for your next inspection!

Chimney Cleaning

When one of our Certified Chimney Professional technicians comes to your home to service your chimney, there are several things you should and shouldn’t expect. First, our technicians will respect your home and leave it looking better than they found it. Our cleaning process is specially designed and carefully managed to leave no mess or smell in your home.

Our technician will begin the visit by asking you about any concerns or problems you’re having before explaining the process to you. They will then use their extensive knowledge of chimneys to conduct a complete Level 1 inspection of your chimney system from top to bottom and – if needed – clean your chimney and fireplace using rotary brushes and other specialized tools to ensure that all the dangerous creosote, soot, glaze, and other fire hazards are eliminated. 

Once the inspection and cleaning are complete, our technicians will provide a written report to the homeowner, and they will explain their findings and recommendations to ensure the safety of your home.

Level 1 Inspection

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a Level 1 inspection if you have been using your chimney the same way, under the same circumstances, with the same appliance since your last inspection. Every time our technicians are called to clean your chimney, they will first conduct a Level I inspection to determine if your chimney does, in fact, need to be cleaned.

In a Level I inspection, our technicians will inspect the readily accessible parts of your chimney and the accessible parts of your fireplace or appliance and the chimney connection. Our technicians will inspect the structural soundness of your chimney and flue along with the fireplace or appliance and connection. Though not technically part of a Level 1 inspection, our technician will inspect your wood storage and the moisture content of your wood to ensure safe burning practices as well as your dryer vent. And, of course, they’ll check the buildup of soot and creosote in the chimney.

At the end of the inspection, our technicians will go over the results and findings, recommend cleaning or schedule your next inspection date, and provide a written report to the homeowner.

Level 2 Inspection

Whenever a home is sold or transferred or any changes are made to the chimney and fireplace system (to include major weather events, chimney fires, relining, changing fuel types, replacing appliances, etc.), the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a Level 2 inspection.

A Level 2 inspection includes the Level 1 inspection plus a video scan of your chimney flue to ensure there are no cracks or gaps in the flue. Additionally, the accessible parts of your chimney exterior and the attic will be inspected to ensure proper clearances from combustible materials. 

At the end of the inspection, we’ll go over the results and findings, recommend any necessary repairs or schedule your next inspection date, and provide a written report to the homeowner.

Level 3 Inspection

When a Level 1 or 2 inspection indicates a deeper problem that requires special tools and access to hidden areas of the chimney system, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a Level 3 inspection. 

A Level 3 inspection focuses on the proper construction and condition of the hidden areas of the chimney structure and flue. It will likely be necessary to remove parts of the chimney to complete this inspection.

What is Accessible or Readily Accessible?

  • Readily accessible means that the component is exposed or can easily be exposed for inspection and maintenance without the use of tools. Examples include the crown of the chimney, the fireback, etc.
  • Accessible means that access may require the use of tools to remove doors or coverings. Examples include video inspection and gaining attic access.

Schedule your appointment today!

What our customers have to say:

Ables Top Hat Chimney Sweep arrived on time for their appointment with me. They did a superb job of cleaning my chimney and fireplace. Not only did they provide great service, but they also explained everything to me that I needed to know for its future care. Their prices are very reasonable. I will be using them in the future for my chimney cleaning and care.

Darlene, Harker Heights

Previously we used another chimney sweep but you are much more thorough and explained things to us. We are going with you from now on. The other sweep we used didn’t do half of what you did. It took him only 15 minutes. You are my sweep from now on!

Lydia, Killen

I had our chimney cleaned and inspected today by Ables Top Hat Chimney Sweep and they did a great job. Not only did they do a great job, but I also got very useful information concerning my fireplace and things to watch out for in the future. My grandson also liked the little chimney sweep and the coloring book he received. I will definitely use this company again and highly recommend them!

Warina, Nolanville

Thanks for the top notch service the other day guys. It was really nice of you all to get my chimney done by some real professionals

C.D., Harker Heights

Wow, my goodness, oh my, I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe all that came out of my dryer vent. I have got to tell all my neighbors about you.

G., Harker Heights

Mr. Ables, Thank you for your service and education of burning a safe fire in our fireplace. Thank You.

K.H., Killeen

As a former business owner who prided his business on customer service, I am honored to do business with you. You’ve been a pleasure to deal with.

Earl, Maryland

GREAT work. I am recommending you to EVERYONE.

Barbara, Copperas Cove

They did a great job. Kudos them for being a great local business. Would highly recommend!

Customer, Lampasas

We wanted to tell you all how pleased we are with your services. We had our dryer vents cleaned and the chimney-mid-December. Our clothing is drying in half the time! We are burning fires safely… About a week after your service I was cleaning around the house. I came across the chimney sweep figurine on the fireplace mantel. We got many smiles out of seeing it! We keep it on the fireplace mantel to tell stories about our chimney sweep. That’s such a thoughtful thing to do. We appreciate your professionalism. When I answered the door and saw you all wearing the top hats-I felt comfortable and happy! You all go above and beyond. Ables Top Hat Chimney Sweeps are masters in their trade that makes it an art!


We rent a house and our rental company didn’t have any record of when our chimney was last cleaned so we decided to have it done. I chose Ables Top Hat Chimney Sweeps because of the other great reviews. He certainly did not let us down! He even lived up to the Top hat name and came wearing a top hat. Not only did he do a great job at sweeping out the chimney but when he was on the roof he noticed some messed up shingles and warned me…very considerate. He was very informative. He also gave my daughter a cute chimney sweep coloring book!! I will definitely continue to use them as well as refer my friends to him!!

Customer, Killen

I was more than pleased with Ables Top Hat Chimney Sweeps. They arrived right on time and did an excellent job. Doug explained everything that was done and everything that needed to be done on upkeep. He didn’t try to sell me anything needless and was very fast. He was very polite and gave my son a miniature chimney sweep when he was done. The prices are great and comparable to others in the Killeen/Fort Hood area. I will definitely call them anytime I need anything done with my fireplace again. 5 stars all the way!

Kasey, Copperas Cove

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