Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How often should my chimney be cleaned?

How long will it take to clean my chimney and is there any Mess?

How much will this cost?

How do you clean a chimney?

Do you install caps? How much?

Can you do repairs?

I have rust stains running down side of my chimney? What causes this?

What is a chimney liner?

How often should a dryer vent be cleaned?

What is the difference between a Pre-fab fireplace and a Masonry Fireplace?

What is the difference between vented and non vented gas logs?

My chimney has white stains on the brick. What is this?

What can be done to prevent the stains?

Can you get replacement glass for my fireplace doors?

Why should we choose you as our chimney professional?

I get birds in my chimney every year. What can I do to prevent this?

Do you have references?

What areas do you service?

Can you remove live animals from my chimney?

How often should my chimney be cleaned?
The National Fire Protection Agency ( NFPA ) recommends a yearly inspection with cleaning and repairs done as necessary. Free standing wood stoves & fire place inserts used to heat the home should be inspected and cleaned every year. Regular open fireplaces need to be maintained and cleaned on a consistent basis as well. Usually a cleaning is needed for every cord of wood burned.
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How long will it take to clean my chimney and is there any MESS!!
It usually takes about an hour to clean most masonry chimneys including setup of tarps, vacuum and tools. We guarantee absolutly No Mess in your home.
Pre-fab fireplaces typically take about 35-45 min.
Inserts and free standing wood stoves can take from 1-3 hours depending on how often they are cleaned, the type of wood burned, and the way the stove is operated.
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How much will this cost?

    Service Rates:    

  • Level 1 Inspections Only: (call for price) (For more info on inspection levels click here)

  • To clean Brick/masonry chimney: (call for price) includes Level 1 inspection:(for inserts/woodstoves see pricing below).
  • Clean Pre-fab fireplace (Hardie Plank, Wood or vinyl siding type product on outside of chimney):(call for price)(call for price) includes Level 1 inspection.

  • Wood-stoves and inserts cleaning starting at: (call for price) includes Level 1 inspection
    we remove the stove/insert and clean chimney, reinstall and clean inside of woodstove

  • Wood Stove/Insert Removal and disposal: (call for price)(removal) (call for price) (cleaning) This includes: cleaning the chimney and removing the stove at same time. (we can leave the stove or take to recycling facility) let us know in advance. 

  • Dryer vent cleanings start at (call for price) for most 2-3 story homes.

  • Video scan of the chimney starts at call for price (chimney may need to be cleaning, see price above)

  • Firebox Back Wall removal and rebuild starts at (call for price). Side walls start at (call for price).

  • Water repellant treatments have to be quoted on an individual basis. We will be happy to come by and look at your chimney, just give us a call.

  • Hook up gas logs in fireplace with existing gas line. (call for price) (1hr min) + parts.
  • Remove gas logs in fireplace and cap line if needed, (call for price) (1hr min) + parts.

  • Replace chase cover on pre-fab chimney quoted on an individual basis depends on material and height and size of chimney top.  Cost of additional repairs are estimated on a per project basis. Call for free quote and inspection of chase top.

  • Prices for chimney caps  are figured on size of chimney, number of flues to cover, and materials wanted. We carry Stainless steel and copper both with lifetime warranty.

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How do you clean a chimney?
We clean most chimney from inside the home. Upon entering your home we are careful to find the best way for us to get equipment and personal in and out of your home. We need some space in front of the fireplace to spread out the 9 x 12 ft tarp that covers the carpet and hearth.  "Special Stuff" on the mantel or walls above the fireplace is safe. If you want to remove items on the mantel please do. We set up all needed tools and our special chimney vacuum to aid in dust control. We wear coveralls, gloves and a respirator if needed to protect us from creosote dust and ash in the chimney. We assess the chimneys condition noting any problems and proceed with cleaning.

We start by removing the grates and any ash from the firebox. The walls and damper blade  are brushed with a hand brush to remove any soot and creosote from this area. 

We remove the damper blade and handle (if possible) to check for rust and missing parts. While cleaning the firebox area we are checking for cracks in brick and missing or severely eroded mortar joints. 

On "Pre-fab" models fireplaces we are checking for cracks in the back and side refectory panels in the firebox. Some hairline cracks are acceptable and a part of normal operations, however we are looking for larger cracks and gaps that will allow fire to reach the metal box enclosure of the fireplace. This can cause damage to the firebox making it unsafe for use. These panels are replaceable so do not fear. We can most likely find and replace old damaged panel making your fireplace usable again.  

On masonry chimneys we reach up inside the smoke chamber area with hand brush to clean the breast area and the sides where the larger brush misses. 

Next, we insert a brush attached to a flexible fiberglass rod and clean the upper smoke chamber area. The brush is pushed up into the flue, working in a scrubbing motion with sections of fiberglass rods added until the brush exits the top of chimney. 

The process is reversed, and the liner is check for cracks, gaps and missing joints using a spotlight. We clean off debris that has fallen onto smoke shelf, the damper blade, handle and cotter pin is put back in place and dust is swept out of firebox. We vacuum off the hearth, and remove all equipment and tarp from your house, complete the invoice, get payment for the amount due, thank you for the business, sprinkle some good luck around and look forward to the next customers dirty chimney. The whole process takes about 1 hour, more or less depending on conditions and such. 
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Do you install chimney caps? How much?
Yes, We carry Stainless Steel and Copper Chimney Caps that carry a lifetime guarantee.  A cap will keep out animals, leaves, twigs, and rain. Rain entering from the uncovered top, does most of the damage in a chimney by getting into the mortar joints inside the firebox causing them to become weak and deteriorate. The single flue cap chimney cap starts at (call for price) installed and are priced according to size. Multi-flue caps (covering more than one flue) start at (call for price) installed and go up depending on size wanted. Custom caps are priced according to size and material used, (ie., Stainless Steel or Copper.) Call 419-508-9979 for more info.
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Can you do repairs?
YES, we repair fireboxes, replace lost or damaged damper blades or install top mount damper if a replacement blade is not available. We also repair crowns, replace rusted chase covers, install chimney caps, and apply water repellant treatment to chimneys. If you are having problems with your chimney, we can most likely find  a workable solution. Call AAA Chimney Service with your problem, we want to help! 419-508-9979
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I have rust stains on the top and running down the siding of my chimney. What causes this and what can be done about it. 
Pre-fab fireplaces have a metal covering chase top to prevent water from entering the interior of chimney structure. The chase top is usually made of a cheap galvanized sheet metal. Over the years the metal coating wears off from sun, rain and other forces. Most tops have a low spot that holds water as well. When you get pine straw and leaves blowing around some are bound to get stuck on the water that has collected during rain, snow, ice storms. Pine straw and certain leaves are very acidic when they are decomposing especially when sitting in water. The acid breaks down the galvanized coating and you soon get bare metal. 

After a while the metal starts to rust and when water runs off the top during a rain it carries the rust down the side of your beautiful siding causing a stain that's get bigger over time. You may even hear water dripping on the inside of chase after a rain event as the rust has pitted the metal allowing water to seep through. Then you know you have a problem. The rust stains on outside of chimney are the first clue as it can take several months for the metal to pit enough for water to seep through. The time to act is when you first notice rust stains not when you hear water dripping...

The best way to fix the problem is to remove old rusted chimney chase top and replace with new one. We use and recommend stainless steel for its strength and ability to resist rust.

Oh, another thing, the stainless steel top has a lifetime warranty against rust, corrosion and manf. defects.

To get a cost estimate call us at 419-508-9979  also remember, stainless steel is a good selling point in the future and good peace-of-mind today.
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What is a chimney liner?
Currently, most masonry chimneys are built with terra-cotta clay tiles stacked and mortared inside the brick structure. These tiles serve as a gas-tight and heat-resistant insulator against the masonry structure. Without a liner, or with cracked and damaged liners, there would be heat transfer or actual seepage through the brick and mortar. A liner is a stainless steel tube inserted into a chimney to draft an furnace, woodstove or fireplace. The appliance will vent through that stainless pipe and use the existing chimney structure as an encasement. New liners are gas tight systems insulated for highest efficiency. This system can solve most drafting and safety issues of chimney fire damaged or older unlined chimney flues.  For more info about chimney Liners at Chimney Safety Institute click here 
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How often should my dryer vent be cleaned?
Most dryer vents should be cleaned at least every 1-2 years. This depends on the length of your vent, how many turns and how often the dryer is used every week. Dryers that have short vents and little usage may be able to go longer than normal before being cleaned. On the other hand if you have a large family and/or are constantly running the washer and dryer then you might need to have a dryer vent cleaning yearly.. 

Cleaning the dryer vent can help prevent the possibility of a fire in your house or dangerous carbon monoxide gas buildup, in the case of a gas dryer, plus can save you money on electricity or gas cost. A clean vent pipe allows the dryer to move the proper amount air through the system taking the humidity out of the clothes, caused by the heating of gas burners or electric elements in your dryer thus allowing your clothes to dry quicker with less energy consumed. Take time to notice if your dryer is running longer with the same amount of clothes, it may be time to have the vent cleaned. And, with all the talk about power shortages we all must do our part and make sure all our appliances are operating at peak efficiency. 

We often see the white vinyl vent coming out the back of 60% of dryers we service. This type of vent pipe is very highly flammable and causes dangerous fumes when burning. If the lint catches on fire while the dryer is running it can blow flames into the vent pipe catching the vinyl connector between the dryer and wall on fire. It can also blow flaming balls of lint around in the area where the dryer sits and behind the sheetrock behind the dryer which causing the fire to spread faster. Hopefully,  you catch it soon enough and the Fire Dept gets there in time to keep the damage to a minimum. The washer/dryer area is one place we recommend putting a smoke detector to give a early warning about smoke or fire in this area and have a good ABC type fire extinguisher in that area handy in case you need one quick. That can be the difference between knocking down a small fire or having the house burn down.  

We can replace the old vinyl dryer vent material with the new flame resistant silver UL listed flex. 

Pricing for dryer vent cleaning starts at (call for price)for one story house with dryer venting down under the floor, and (call for price) for 2 story with dryer up stairs and venting out high. This includes up to 25 ft of vent.

In addition, we are equipped to completely replace an old unsafe dryer vent with new sheet metal vents or metal flexible vents where needed in most cases. Call AAA Chimney Service at
today and get your dryer vent system serviced and cleaned. 
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What is the difference between a Pre-Fab fireplace and 
a Masonry fireplace ?

The quickest way to tell is by the chimney outside. If its covered in wood or vinyl siding like the house it most likely a pre-fab. Pre-fab fireplaces are installed on site from UL listed components made in a factory, while a masonry chimney is constructed on site by brick masons.  A pre-fab chimney has a metal pipe flue to vent smoke out of house. Pre-fabs are smaller and some have blowers built in. All pre-fab fireplaces are UL listed. The pre-fab chimney is encased in a wood chase covered by a metal cap to prevent water and provided with termination cap on top. 

A masonry/brick chimney is built on site using brick and terra cotta tile for liners and is more expensive to build to maintain. Most masonry chimneys do not have chimney caps installed allowing water and animals to get inside the structure and sometimes inside your house. A pre-fab fireplace can be removed if damaged and replaced with new unit for less cost than masonry chimney. Pre-fab fireplaces are not any more or less safe than masonry fireplaces. They are just different. But both will help keep you warm and they are romantic!!
Call for more info at 419-508-9979
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What is the difference between vented and non vented gas logs? What else is there?
There are several different types of gas logs. We deal with the most popular types, vented and non vented or heating logs. The differences between these two logs sets is very technical. But to boil it down, Vented type logs can only be used in fireplaces with a working chimney that meet current codes. The damper is locked open upon installation must be kept open when burning. Placement of the logs can be changed to make the fire look different. The flame has a more orange look and soot is more prevalent in the chimney. A chimney cap is HIGHLY recommended when using either type of log set to prevent water and other debris from falling on the log set. Water can rust the burner, grate and also damage the logs in a short amount of time.

Non vented logs can be used in firebox's, when approved, with or without a chimney flue and still meet current building codes. The damper (if there is one) is only cracked open (1/4" to 3/8") allowing most of the heat to enter the living space. If you are using a vent free fireplace a window need's to be cracked open during use to allow for fresh air into the home.  Once vent-free logs are set up they must stay in this configuration through out their life. The flame is more blue with yellow tips and these logs produce no soot. In some cases they don't look that great in the fireplace. However, most of the newer models have come a long ways in the looks dept.

To find out more info about the good and bad of un-vented logs read this in-depth article at this fine site here.
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My chimney has white stains on the brick what is this?
The white stains or powder-like material is often the result of water penetration of the chimney. During a rain, snow, or ice storm water is absorbed by the brick and mortar crown. In the case of snow or ice storm the freeze thaw cycles can enlarge the cracks on the top of the chimney mortar crown allowing water to enter the structure this way. The chimney will soon saturate with water. As the chimney dries, lime and salts from brick and mortar are pushed out of the pores of the chimney. Wood in contact with the chimney can also absorb water, and in most cases, start to rot. This is a common problem that we can help prevent. The cost of this service depends on many factors. Call us for more info or to schedule a visit.  
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What can be done to prevent the white stains on my brick?
The first step is a visual evaluation of the chimney crown, mortar joints and flashing. Often we find the crown has cracks caused by shrinkage of the mortar during construction. These start out as hairline cracks but get bigger over the years from freeze thaw-cycles and the natural expansion-contraction that occurs during the spring & summer seasons. If the chimney has darkened from mold and mildew, we recommend cleaning the surface of the brick with a power washing. This opens the pores of the brick and cleans off mold and mildew deposits. We apply a layer of masonry coating on the mortar crown sealing the cracks, but remaining flexible to allow for expansion-contraction cycles. Afterwards then apply a water repellent product with a low pressure sprayer. Both products have a 10-year warranty and we have confidence in their ability to perform as stated.  
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Can I get replacement glass for my fireplace doors?
we now have a great source where we can  provide high temp tempered glass for fireplace doors. We need length, width, and thickness of glass and if the glass is enclose in full frame or has exposed edges. Turnaround time is 7-10 days. 
We can also get super high temp ceramic glass especially for woodstove inserts and free standing models.   
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Why should we choose AAA Chimney Service as our chimney professional?
Because that is exactly what we are-Professionals. Chimney sweeping is a very straightforward, simple maintenance process, but there are aspects of chimneys and venting systems that are very technical. Ongoing training is needed to provide accurate evaluation reports and building codes are always changing. We keep up to date with the latest changes in our industry and code changes at the state level. We carry business liability insurance and we are bonded for your protection.
Call us for more info or to schedule an appointment 419-508-9979  
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Do you have references?
We can give you the names of past customers, realtors and property management company's we have performed chimney services for in the past if you desire. Please call and let us know in advance. We will be happy to let you hear all the nice things our customer are saying about us!!
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What can I do about the birds in my chimney ??
The chimney swift, a colony bird from South America, spends the summer in your chimney nesting, raising their young and getting ready for the long flight back to the forests of Peru. Chimney Swifts on average eat several times there weight in flying bugs such as mosquito's. Being a colony bird they will return to the same chimney they hatched in each year. We start seeing the birds in this area mid to late April. They stay until mid Sept and are usually gone by the first cold snap. We like to wait until the birds are gone or between nesting activity to put out the "No Vacancy" sign. 
These birds can have 1-2 nesting a year depending on weather and other factors. The hatching period usually lasts 4-5 weeks with a 1-2 week period between hatchings. We recommend cleaning the chimney if to remove the bird debris and any flammable material that may be in the chimney area. Next step is to install a stainless steel chimney cap. This will prevent birds, squirrels and other animals from entering the chimney along with rain and leaves. From then on your bird and small animal problem is solved and you are the hero. So, make that call today to schedule your appointment. 419-508-9979 
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What areas do you service?
We provide quality service in all of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
For other areas not listed please call and inquire.  call 419-508-9979.
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Can you remove live animals from my chimney?
We do on a case by case basis, please call.
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These are just a few of the answers to the most common asked questions.

Feel free to call or email us with a question not covered by our FAQ section. To schedule an appointment, please call us at 419-508-9979