expert, careful, friendly chimney service
Wait: read first!
We have 5 major services plus inspections and minor services: chimney flue and woodstove cleanings, animal / rain caps, stainless steel liner installations, masonry repairs, waterproofing, inspections, and add on services like peel and paint soot stain removal. Read about each in their drop down boxes below.
Having your chimney cleaned by Northeast Chimney Sweeps is a new experience.
Northeast Chimney Sweeps cleans a chimney slower than anyone! While our competitors dash in and out of your home in 45 minutes, we allow up to two hours between our appointments. This allows us to assess your chimney’s needs, carefully protect our work area, and thoroughly accomplish a proper and complete chimney cleaning. How else could we claim, truthfully, to be the best chimney sweep in Lexington, Woburn, Arlington, Waltham, Winchester, Wilmington, Stoneham, Belmont, Tewksbury, Medford, Reading MA and New England; maybe even the country? Our reputation is best seen where people are searching for the best chimney sweep in Massachusetts; on Angie’s List, the Arlington List, Belmont List and others.
Chimneys are cleaned on a periodic basis based upon use, type of chimney and type of fuel burned. A cleaning will remove soot, creosote, debris fallen from outside and particles fallen in from deteriorating flue walls.
Cleaning the chimney clears the flue passage of obstructions to draft, decreasing the possibility of a carbon monoxide spillage into the home. Chimney cleaning can also remove flammable deposits like soot and creosote from flue walls, decreasing the potential of a chimney fire.
People ask us all the time, “How often do we get our chimney flues cleaned?” Our rules of thumb for chimney cleaning frequency are as follows:
Wood burning Stove flue: Every 1 year
FirePlace Flue: Every 3 years
Oil Burner Flue: Every 5 years
Visit our Chimney Cleaning Pricing page.
Chimney Caps and Animal Guard
Northeast Chimney Sweeps has built our business in the Woburn and Lexington, Massachusetts area by providing excellent, affordable chimney service. But hey, don’t just think of us as “the chimney sweeper” but as a full service chimney service company.
Part of our service includes installing and replacing stainless steel chimney caps and copper chimney caps, stainless steel chimney liners, chimney rebuilding and other chimney repairs. All of our services can be found listed at the top of every page. Here we want to focus on chimney caps for gas and fireplace chimneys and the need for them. See our General Pricing page for cost.
A chimney cap is known as many things. Some people call it an animal guard or an animal cap. Others call it a chimney cover since it covers the top of the flue / chimney. What ever you call it, we install it; a cap to protect the chimney from animals, leaves and debris that might otherwise cause damage or problems for your chimney. Most often customers choose stainless steel chimney caps while often those with older, more ornate homes, copper chimney caps.
Having an animal in your chimney when uncapped is no small thing.
We recommend a chimney cap for all chimneys to cover all flues. See it as insurance from the drama that may follow if an animal were to become trapped in your chimney at a time when the heat would go on for the heating season or the hot water heater.
Did you know that because of the warmth generated up the gas flue from a gas water heater chimney, a mother animal might chose to have her babies in the flue? Imagine the emotional impact and mess that would create.
Check out the links above to learn more about our services, email us using our contact form or call us at the number listed in our logo.
STAINLESS STEEL LINERS
Stainless Steel Chimney Liner Systems Installed
A chimney liner is a complete single-flue smoke & exhaust venting system that includes all support and connector / adapter components, a specific length of specialty alloy pipe, and final connection to the heating appliance being vented: ie: an oil or gas-fired boiler or furnace.
Chimney lining is our most expensive service. Most customers quickly understand the importance of having a strong and healthy path through which their heating system can “exhale”, but some still wonder if there is another way to return their flue to health. Well, there is another choice. Your chimney has given 40, 50 or more years of service. If you would like to return it to its original condition, it can be entirely torn down and rebuilt brick by brick, clay liner by clay liner.
As you may have guessed, this alternative is impractical, messy, time consuming, and as much as 15 times more expensive than to re-build. It is an alternative chosen by no one. On the other hand, a new stainless steel liner system is completely installed in one day with no mess and little disruption to the customer’s daytime routine. Once installed, it provides a permanent correction to a worn-out flue, truly making your chimney new on its important side, the inside!
We calculate the price of each stainless steel chimney liner based upon many factors, each unique to every home. A primary criteria that we consider will relate to a chimney liner’s diameter (5, 6, 7, 8” round). Taking your heating system’s BTU rating into account we calculate the correct size liner pipe, and then factor in other variables such as chimney height, roof access, difficulty of installation, number of appliance connections, etc. This gives us the complete chimney liner cost.
We work hard to ensure two things: that our liner installation will perform right upon first installation, and that what we have completed will be easy to maintain for future service personnel. As a final consideration on price, please note that some of our competitors will offer a lower priced liner. We distinguish our projects by doing neat and careful work, using top-quality components, not flimsy knock-off brands. We properly prepare your chimney prior to inst allation so we can present a completed project with no compromise and no need for apologies.
Stainless Steel Chimney Liner prices – $1600 – 2600 including installation
2 TYPES OF INSPECTIONS
2 Types of Inspections – fee and no fee
Two of our most frequent questions have to with whether or not we do inspections and if they are free. The answers are below.
1: Inspection Services (fee based):
Fee charged may be used as 50% credit within 90 days.
Written receipt and basic condition report provided at time of inspection, as applicable.
Detailed report with recommendations and pricing will follow via email from our office.
Inspection performed from rooftop, cellar, fireplace(s).
Inside access required.
Payment due at time of inspection.
- Real Estate Sale Inspection ($300) – email report issued within 24 hours.
- General inspection ($255) – email report issued within 7 days.
- Interior Repair Inspection ($100) – for a specific interior repair estimation that requires a set appointment time slot, to meet with you and for interior access to the home.
- Condition Inspection ($100) – to provide proof of inspection in order to satisfy town inspector – for new heating appliance; such as a gas fired water heater or boiler. *
* Note that flue and appliance installation must be in satisfactory condition in order to receive a passing inspection report. We will otherwise offer measures to correct any defects.
2: Inspection Services (no fee):
Provided on a non-appointment, no-fee basis, in between scheduled appointments in your area.
Your permission to stop by (during normal day time hours) required.
Inside access not required; in most cases.
- Measure for chimney cap – provide price quote.
- Masonry repair of exterior portion of chimney – provide price quote.
- Flue liner replacement services (sometimes requires inside access or photo of boiler room) – provide price quote.
Northeast Chimney Sweeps
Why does my chimney leak?
We at Northeast Chimney Sweeps look at over a thousand chimneys each year. Across the board, we see chimney leaks coming from five main sources:
1. Lack of a chimney cap
2. Open mortar joints
3. Flashing / roofing weaknesses
4. Penetration of water through the exposed brick or chimney surface which leads to saturation of the brick / mortar mass
5. Water vapor from high efficiency heating system condenses back to water droplets before escaping the chimney
Answers to those issues are:
1. Installation of a cap
2. Brick and mortar repair
3. Flashing / roof repair
4. Waterproofing of the exposed brick or crown surface
5. Installation of stainless steel flue liner
Water leaks are the most difficult chimney problems we are asked to solve. However, finding correction to water infiltration is important in order to prevent serious chimney interior damage. We always try to start with the most obvious penetration point, and then also make suggestions beyond in case that is not the complete answer to the problem.
It is always nice if the main problem has an easy and cheap solution, and sometimes that is how it works out. For some other chimneys, water intrusion issues are more complex and difficult to solve.
It is important to note that we base our waterproofing technique recommendations, in part, upon what we observe during our visit to the client’s home. We also listen to what our clients report to us about what they have observed during their experience with the leaky chimney. What we then recommend will be in response to all of the collected data. We have had great success in solving hundreds of water leaks into chimneys. However, please note that while we stand behind every service that we provide in terms of quality of materials and installation, we do not promise to solve every water leak. Due the complexity of water penetration issues into homes, we are precluded from doing so. In comparison, we can easily promise to unplug a blocked chimney flue with no uncertainty because we are able to observe a blockage and then later observe that the flue has been fully cleared. Because of the complexity of water leaks, we only promise to faithfully execute the waterproofing methods that we have offered to perform. We suggest that prospective clients with leaky chimneys contact our office. Our Inspection, together with your reported observations, can help to formulate a logical and effective waterproofing plan.
General prices and other info:
Why Choose Northeast Chimney Sweeps of Woburn?
Recommended by Your Neighbors
Products and Services that Last
A One-Stop Shop
Frequently Asked Questions
get your questions answered below
What is included in a Fireplace Cleaning?
There are four (or five) main components of a Fireplace (FP) system that are tended to in a Fireplace cleaning appointment. They are:
- Smoke Chamber
- Chimney cap (if there is one)
Described another way, we clean all of the surface that become soot-coated during FP usage, from the floor of the Fireplace to the top of the chimney. This process (to be done properly) takes about an hour and a quarter to an hour and three quarters. Most of that time is spent indoors in front of the Fireplace.
What is the procedure for a Fireplace flue cleaning?
Please note that every FP is different and cleaning techniques are adjusted accordingly:
- The work area in front of the fireplace is protected using drop cloths and cardboard panels.
- A special vacuum runs during the entire cleaning process to ensure total dust control.
- The flue is swept from the rooftop down or the bottom up, depending upon many factors (such as roof access, damper type, weather conditions, etc.). A Fireplace flue is usually a rectangular shaped vertical tunnel. It will be 15 to 35 feet in height in the homes we generally work in. Cleaning the flue is achieved using brushes and rods.
- The damper door is disconnected from its controller and removed from its frame in the throat of the FP. This allows for complete cleaning of the damper as well as access to to the smoke chamber and shelf.
- The smoke chamber is whip-cleaned, scraped, brushed. This mysterious sounding area is the bell-shaped passage that funnels smoke from the top of the firebox (waist-height) to the bottom opening of the flue (typically about ceiling height in the Fireplace room). This part of the cleaning is the most crucial, as it is the area of the FP system where soot / creosote accumulate most and where a chimney fire is most likely to start. It is also the most difficult area to clean and the reason we clean chimneys slower than anyone! Many “Brush & Go” chimney sweeps skip this piece entirely.
- The firebox is wire-brushed and vacuumed. Soot and creosote that have been extracted from the flue and smoke chamber are now brought into the firebox, bagged and removed from the work area.
- When all cleaning work has been completed, the damper door is re-installed and tested. We typically leave the damper in the CLOSED position to prevent heat loss until the customer is ready to have a fire.
- With everything done, we tidy up the work area and remove our equipment. Other than a clean chimney, the customer should find it hard to tell that work had ever been done in their living room!
What is NOT included in a Fireplace cleaning?
Multiple cleanings are not included in our standard pricing, though we do offer a discount for cleaning more than one item at a single appointment. Please understand that each FirePlace or WoodStove or Boiler / Furnace will have its own flue and will be treated as an individual cleaning.
Cleaning of the Furnace flue is not included! It is important to understand that when a Fireplace system cleaning has been performed, we have not also cleaned the flue for the Furnace / Boiler / Water heater. We do perform the service of Furnace flue cleaning on a regular basis as a separate item and at an additional, single-flue charge (discount applies). Please do not mistake your multiple-item chimney for a single-flue structure. If you have a Fireplace and a Heating system (gas or oil), each will vent separately through two (or more) individual flues. Cleaning of one will leave the other untouched.
What is Northeast Chimney Sweeps’ service area?
Northeast Chimney Sweeps services many towns in the eastern Massachusetts area. The list is growing but typically we provide chimney service in Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Billerica, Lexington, Lynnfield, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, Winchester and of course Northeast Chimney Sweeps has serviced and maintained customers in Woburn, MA since 1978.
How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
Rule of thumb in cleaning frequencies are listed below:
- Wood burning stove – Yearly
- Fireplace – 2 – 3 years depending upon how much you burn
- Oil burner – 5 years (inspected every 3)
- Most gas-fired heating does not produce soot, but its flue should still be checked for flue deterioration and debris regularly; about every 5-7 years.
How many flues does my chimney have?
A chimney (some call it a chimley) is a structure that may contain up to several separate flues. Each flue is an independent escape path, through which smoke exits the home (think volcano or hallways of escape). Generally speaking, each fireplace or heating system in your home will have its own flue. How many flues you need cleaned is dependent upon the use and output of each system. For instance, your fireplace will need cleaning more often than your gas flue because it leaves more residue, even though you use your gas burner more.
Do I need to have all of my flues cleaned at once?
Having several flues does not necessarily mean that you will need them all cleaned. Each flue is assessed independently. In contrast to some, it has always been our policy to clean only those flues that need cleaning.
Doesn’t my oil burner company clean my furnace flue?
Nope! No oil service company can clean your furnace flue. They don’t have the equipment and it is outside their area of expertise.
- A good oil company cleans the internal parts of your furnace or boiler.
- A better oil company might also clean your furnace smoke pipe.
- The best oil companies know to refer you to the experts at Northeast Chimney Sweeps. 80% of our business comes from referring companies and repeat customers.
See below for a list of service companies we are proud to recommend for other services than we provide.
A good name is worth more than gold.
Our company has been serving the Woburn, Massachusetts area since 1978. We value the relationships we have built with our customers over the years. Not only have we developed a strong reputation with these customers, we have also earned the trust of some the area’s best trades professionals.
Look at some of the top companies recommending Northeast Chimney Sweeps!
Lawrence V. Sweet Plumbing and Heating Corporation – Lexington, MA (781) 862-1387
Arlington Fuel Oil Company – Arlington, MA
RHNay.com – R.H. Nay – Custom residential renovations
Jim’s Heating Service – Woburn, MA
K and N Oil Service – 636 Main Street Woburn, MA 01801-2397 (781) 933-2452
Kelly’s Heating Service – Wakefield, MA
Angie’s List (many customers use this list to recommend trade businesses – JOIN NOW FOR FREE)
Circle’s Choice is a great place to read about our company from a customer’s viewpoint.
S M Hodson Oil Company – Reading, MA
R L Black Plumbing & Heating – Woburn, MA
William Fitzmaurice Electrical Contractors – Arlington, MA
Scally Plumbing – Woburn, MA
ProCare Inc. – Woburn, MA
A M Busa Construction – Bedford, MA 781-275-5999
Beth Stakem / Remax Heritage – Reading, MA
Don Coughlin Remax Leading Edge Agency – Winchester, MA
Sven Andersen – The Andersen Team – Winchester, MA
Attention all Wood stove and Fireplace users
If you are one of our many wood-burning customers, you are aware that you have an enemy when it comes to your chimney safety- that enemy is CREOSOTE. Creosote is a black, tarry or glazed material that can coat every surface inside your flue system that is on the path of your smoke’s exit from the chimney. Creosote is a carbon residue that accumulates as a by-product of the combustion of wood. As smoke travels up the chimney, some of it condenses and turns to soot and creosote. It is especially prone to building up at chimney “cool” spots (such as the smoke chamber of the fireplace, or the very top of your flue), and at bends in the flue. Creosote is your enemy because it is flammable– it can ignite inside your flue system and become fuel for a chimney fire.
The most important way to avoid creosote build-up is to have your chimney cleaned regularly. For most woodstove burners, that means every year, or after 2 cords of wood. For standard fireplace users, once every 3 years is usually right, because the average FP customer takes that long to burn 2 cords. However, please read about ACS (below). We cannot remove the most-hardened creosote deposits using regular sweeping methods. ACS can help.
For many customers, regular cleanings are all that is necessary to keep creosote levels to a minimum. Additionally, all wood-burners should observe the following rules:
- Burn clean, seasoned hardwoods (avoid pine).
- Don’t burn trash, paper, or newspaper (a piece or two to get started is OK)
- Place a woodstove thermometer on your stove. Check it often.
- Don’t run your stove too low. Burning at 200 degrees saves on wood, but causes excessive creosote build-up.
- Don’t run your stove too high. Over-firing can damage your stove and may start a chimney fire.
- Don’t put a large stove in a small room. You will be tempted to run it too low.
- A good temperature is 400-500 degrees.
- When you start your fire, let the chimney warm up gradually. Shocking it can crack the inner brickwork or clay liner.
- Have a plan for a chimney fire- keep a fire extinguisher ready.
- Use ACS – Anti-Creosote Spray! We cannot overstate the value of this helpful maintenance product. Simply spray on the burning logs. About 10-15 pumps per day will work, but you can double that for stubborn creosote problems. The agents in the liquid react at 300 degrees, and attack the tarry creosote, which is transformed into a dry, crunchy, and less flammable substance. The new substance is much easier for us to loosen and remove during normal chimney sweeping operations. ACS should be kept away from kids and pets and will stain fabrics, so be careful. ACS can be purchased at some hardware stores. Alternatively, we are glad to deliver it to your door for $15 per bottle. We suggest that you use 1 bottle per 1 cord of wood burned.
The Best Way to Upgrade your Woodstove Safety
- We strongly suggest that all our wood-burning stove customers consider having us upgrade the installation of their stove. Many of you had your stove installed 10,15 or even 20 years ago. Installation codes and techniques have advanced every year since.
- Simply put, we suggest the installation of a direct-connect stainless steel chimney liner with hook-up to the smoke outlet of your woodstove. The advantages of this system are many:
- Smoke is contained inside an extremely strong and durable sleeve and is carried directly to the top of the chimney.
- The new liner is a consistent size and shape. This eliminates cool-down spots (such as your smoke chamber spill area) and by-passes any unseen cracks / flaws in your existing flue.
- Flue temperatures are kept more consistent, lessening the build-up of creosote.
- Draft is usually improved.
- Annual cleanings are more thorough – there are no unreachable crevices that creosote can collect in.
- Finally, if a chimney fire were to start inside your chimney, it would be contained, and would likely burn itself out. In an un-lined or even clay-lined flue, chimney fires often damage the chimney’s inner walls; in a worst case, those cracks allow heat and flame to spread to the wood framing surrounding your chimney. A home fire could result.
TESTIMONY: The author (Joe) has a large wood-burning stove, through which 4 cords of wood are burned each year. Along with use of Anti Creosote Spray, and a cleaning each spring, I elected to lined my woodstove’s flue with a stainless steel liner, though I already had a clay liner inside the chimney.
I can sincerely say that it was well worth my time and expense. The benefit to me was the knowledge of a job well done with no safety compromise, increased performance, ease of cleaning, and the peace of mind that allows me to load up my stove, set the damper, and leave the house for the day with no worries.
Please talk to us if you would like to upgrade.
- A single flue cleaning costs $255, the second is only $225 and the third flue is $205
- A chimney cap will range in price from $180 – 450 including installation.
- A stainless steel chimney liner will cost in the range of $1700 – 2600 for typical installations. Rates vary based upon flue length, diameter, roof access and required prep.
Prices are for general purposes only and are subject to change without notice.
Please call us for more information: 781 935 – 5488
Services and Prices Explanations:
A few considerations about price: Most customer find our price to be quite reasonable, especially if compared with other like-quality professionals. But how important is chimney maintenance? Let’s put things into context:
Stainless steel chimney caps – $160 – 450: Price includes installation, for single to multiple-flue chimneys. Chimney caps offer a permanent, non-rusting, maintenance-friendly protection, the cost of which seems small compared to that of removing racoons or squirrels from your chimney (or living room).
Chimney cleaning – $255 for a single-flue cleaning. Well worth the price of avoiding a chimney fire in a fireplace flue, or removing a pile-up of soot and debris restricting the draft in a furnace flue.
Waterproofing – $85 – 400, depending on surface area. This is a water-repellent application from Saver Systems that has its primary benefit preservation of brick surfaces, the avoidance of damage caused by water absorption, deterioration, and freeze / thaw damage. Always much less expensive than fixing masonry structures that were never protected.
Chimney liners – $1700-2600 including installation: A chimney liner system is a complete single-flue package that includes all supports and connector / adapter components, as well as connection to the appliance; i.e. oil burner. Chimney lining is certainly our most expensive service. While most customer quickly understand the importance of having a strong and healthy path through which their heating system can “exhale”, a few wonder if there is another way to return their flue to health. The truth is there IS another choice. Your chimney has given 40, 50 or more years of service. If you would like to return it to its original condition, it can be entirely torn down and rebuilt, brick by brick, clay liner by clay liner. As you have probably guessed, this alternative is impractical, messy, time consuming, and as much as 15 times more expensive. It is an alternative chosen by no one. On the other hand, a new stainless steel liner system is completely installed in one day with no mess and little disruption to the customer’s daytime routine. Once installed, it provides a permanent correction to a worn-out flue, truly making your chimney new on its important side, the inside!
TERMS: No deposit is required, expect on certain specialty work. Payment in full is required upon job completion for all services. Every project in unique. Installations will vary according to chimney construction, manufacturer’s instruction, code requirements, and preferred materials.
NECS accepts cash or checks for payment. Sorry, but we do not accept credit cards. This keeps things simple for us, and keeps costs lower for you. You will always know the exact cost of any job before we begin.
We will occasionally require a “1/3 - 1/2 deposit” on custom jobs such as liners or special order chimney caps. However, most of the time, we will do your work from start to finish without asking or a penny up front. Our customers are good people and consistently pay on time; and we trust them!
We do ask that you bear in mind and take very seriously that we will be expecting payment in full on the day of job completion. Whether your job is small or large, we will have, by completion, invested at least our time in it. In many cases, where materials have been used, we have already paid for them by the time they arrive at your home.
Please be ready to “settle up” when we are finished. Thank you!