Chimney Cleaning & Repair
Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by
Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your
own experience may be different. Please always check references first!
Berkeley Parents Network >
House & Garden >
Chimney Cleaning & Repair
We're looking for a chimney cleaner. The highly rated yelp
businesses are booked for a couple months and not returning
calls. Suggestions? Thanks anon
We have a WONDERFUL chimney cleaner named Chester Waldon.
Chester has cleaned our fireplace every year for the last 3
years [before we start burning wood]-.
Not only is he through, he spends alot of time making sure
that you have no cracks between the bricks and if he does
find anything suspicious.. he takes care of it right then
He is an honest, kind and thoughtful man and reminds me of
'Little Richard' -[. which always cracks him up when I tell
him this !!].
At the end of his work, he gives you a certification stating
that your fireplace is safe to burn wood [or whatever.]
If you want great service at a moderate price, Chester is
your guy !!
You can reach him @ 510 635-9990; 510 846-0964
Yes, I do have a suggestion. Don't burn wood, it really gets
the chimney dirty, and the air. If you put candles in your
fireplace instead, it will be a whole lot cheaper,much
easier than hauling the wood and your neighbors will thank
you. In addition, it looks beautiful!
But you say, it will not heat the house. Well, a wood fire
does not actually heat the house, either. It takes the warm
air in the home and sends it up the chimney.
So in actual fact, burning wood can increase your PG&E bill.
If you must burn wood, at least use manufactured logs. They
burn much cleaner.
If you care to read some information about how detrimental
wood smoke is to your health, here it is.
Sorry to be so preachy, but this affects you, your children,
and everyone within a quarter mile of your wood fire. In
addition, you didn't ask for chimney sweeps, you asked for
suggestions. Well, I have given you suggestions much better
than a chimney sweep. Please consider them. Anon
Need a chimney sweep or chimney inspector
I've noticed some broken plaster pieces in my
fireplace/hearth area. It seems maybe about a sq foot area
of plaster or whatever material was used to finish off the
inside of my chimney or fireplace has fallen down. I'd like
some qualified person to tell me if it is safe to use the
fireplace this winter or if I need to get this fixed. It's
not a large amount of broken material, but better safe than
sorry, I guess. Anybody have a person they would recommend?
Thank you, Stef
We just had Sally, 'The Irish Sweep'
http://www.theirishsweep.com/ come to clean our chimney and
inspect for safety. She and her team mate were great! She
had a wait list because it was near Thanksgiving, but was
able to slip me in on a cancellation. She arrived on time,
was very professional, pleasant and knowledgeable - gave us
some perspective on potential future repairs without
pressuring us or making us feel ignorant (for neglecting our
chimney for 18 years). Local company - I'd highly
We're looking for a chimney sweep. We've lived in our house
and never had the chimney swept. Do you have someone you'd
recommend who did a good job and wasn't too expensive? How
often do you get this service done? Thanks! Dirty chimney
Paul owner of Chelsea Sweep is great. Sorry that I'm not
where I have his number handy but I'm sure you can google
him. Does a great job and is very reasonable and friendly.
Chiminey sweep to replace damper
WE need our damper replaced. Does any one know a reasonably
priced chimney sweep?
I just used Johnny's Fireplace Service 925-297-9246 to
install a new damper and cap assembly and highly recommend
him. I'm so satisfied with his price, his seamless service,
and the fact that he recycles parts from other fireplaces he
has replaced with wood pellet stoves. We have tried to fix
our fireplace 2x, once in 1998 and again last year. Both
times we decided to delay this repair because bids we
received from other contractors were so expensive. Johnny's
bid was so reasonable there was no need for delay any more!
Hello! Does anyone have a chimney person that they recommend? We just moved into an
old house in Berkeley, and our chimney flume is open, and we can't
close it for the life of us. We would love to find someone
recommended to help us with these problems! Thanks so much
for your input. Caroline
The Irish Chimney Sweep is great! Woman-owned company - they
did a fantastic job refurbishing my entire chimney. Works
perfectly now! -Warm and Happy
Can anyone recommend a reputable chimney repair service (not
just chimney sweep) ? Thank you Phylis
We had our very tall, slightly cracked chimney taken down to
the bare minimum (just above the roof) by H. Soot
510.522.0783. It wasn't working as a wood-burning fireplace
anyway, so we installed a gas fire that works with our
little chimney, and we've been very happy with it. The gas
fire was installed by Paul at Chelsea, 510.597.0333. Carrie
After being swindled by someone who took our deposit for
repairs and never returned, I researched the issue at great
length and then called the Irish Chimney Sweep. It is a
woman-owned company that has been in business for a long
time. They repaired several issues with my chimney (house
was built in 1926) and did an absolutely fantastic job and
cleaned up perfectly afterwards. Top notch company and
workmanship. The best part is that the owner's cell phone
had the ring tone from Mary Poppins (chim chim cher-ee)
-Very Satisfied Custumer with Perfectly Working Chimney
Hi- I've started using the fireplace in my new (old) house
and it smokes somewhat. Any suggestions or recommendations
from the wonderful BPN community? Thanks in advance.
We've owned three houses in the fifteen years, and have
worked with the same great chimney guy for all of them. In
one case, he totally eliminated a smoking problem by adding
a strip of black metal at the top of the fireplace opening.
Apparently many were built too tall for their width and
don't draw well. It looks fine, more or less disappears from
view when in use. He will also give your chimney a thorough
cleaning, which is important to do yearly if you use it
much, for safety. His name is Chester Waldron,
The cheapest and easiest thing to do is to just put candles
in the fireplace. It really looks lovely, plus, it is better for your health
and the environment than burning wood. The other issue is
heating. A wood fire pulls the heat out of the house and
sends it up the chimney. So candles are win/win/win!!! Anon
Does it just smoke when you first light the fire? If so, no
worries, but if it smokes even when the fire is going well,
stop making fires there! and contract a chimney sweep to
clean it and check for leaks. You might also need an
engineer to determine the fix for an old chimney.
If it's just at the beginning, one of the main things that
happens is the smoke does not really draft up the chimney
and collects around the throat, then out into the living
room. This can be addressed in two ways: 1. by opening
windows and/or doors and 2. by lighting the first kindling
and holding it up into the throat until it starts to draft.
And don't forget to check whether we have a spare-the-air
day when you decide to start a fire. Fireplace Fires can be
somewhat polluting. In fact, new construction does not
allow a traditional fireplace anymore in Berkeley and other
I own a duplex in North Berkeley, built in the 30s by my great-
grandfather, and one chimney is pulling away from the house at
the roofline probably due to the August earthquake. The house
foundation is sound. I'm looking for a contractor
recommendations to replace or remove both chimneys. Karla
We had a wonderful experience with Sally, the owner/operator of
The Irish Sweep. We had a fireplace that had been covered over
when bought the house. She opened it up for us, tested the
chimney for us, and then rebuilt the portions that needed
fixing as well as a new firebox for us. It was a tricky job as
the chimney was from 1918 but she did fantastic work. She
clearly knew her stuff! And was a lovely person to deal with
as well. Their website is www.theirishsweep.com Good luck!
My husband and I are renovating a home. For some unknown reason
the inside of the fireplace is painted with glossy white paint
which we'd like to remove. The previous owner died, and we
believe his extended family slapped white paint/primer on many of
the walls to get the house up for sale quickly. Besides being an
eyesore and potentially toxic (should the paint burn), it could
also be hiding something. We'd like to have the paint removed
(sandblasted?), and the fireplace evaluated so that we can
eventually enjoy it. Do you know of someone that can help?
Posted this up above for another question but will repost
here. We had a wonderful experience with Sally, the
owner/operator of The Irish Sweep. She fixed our fireplace in
our 1918 bungalow. She knows everything there is to know about
fireplaces and does great work-- bet she could help you too.
Their website is www.theirishsweep.com Good luck!
I am looking for a good chimney sweep
Anyone know a good chimney sweep in Berkeley? We are hoping to
use our fireplace for the first time during this winter.
When we bought our house in 2002, we hired
Paul Michiewicz ''Chimney Sweep & Repair'' to inspect the
fireplace and fix the chimney. 510.848.8893. I still see his
truck around town. The man loves chimneys and really knows how
to make them work well.
I would like to recommend Johnny Key, Johnny's
Fireplace Services, Installation and Repairs, Woodstoves a
Specialty. His number is 925-297-9246.
In addition to being a chimney sweep, he also does fireplace
installations and maintenance. He did maintenance on our
living room fireplace and solved our problem quickly.
He has also done other small jobs for us
When we bought our house four years ago, we used The Irish Sweep.
The woman who runs the business was very professional,
knowledgable and gave us a lot of good information re the upkeep
of our fireplace and chimney. Her number is (510) 521-4088
Nick of Berkeley Chimneys (in the phone book) is very
reasonably priced and reliable. He has been cleaning and
repairing my chimney for years
I used Irish Sweep just last week. The gentlemen that came was
prompt and professional. They were in and out very quickly.
The only thing that bothered me was that the owner quoted me
$125 for a cleaning.. and they ended up charging me $190.
Hi. I used HS Soot this past September, and everything from the
prompt return call to the visit was professional. Very friendly,
informative, clean, on time. I'd tried Irish Sweep and Berkeley
Chimney and never received a return phone call--and called each
I am looking for a good and reasonably priced chimney sweep and
the latest recommendations I see posted are from 2004. Any
current suggestions? Kathy
I highly recommend Nick at Berkeley Chimneys. He did a chimeny check/sweep at
both our house and my parent's this past October. What i liked about him:
-reliable (always rtned phone calls that very same day), --
pleasant to deal with each time i spoke to him, -thorough(went over his notes
and recommendations and their cost one by one),
-not pushy(tells you if you can do the repair yourself and how!), -follows
through(called us with numerous updates on a cap our chimney pipe needed which he
-cleaned after himself!!!(didn't need to sweep or do anything after he was done
with the sweep, which happened during a time i had guests sitting close to the
chimeny-never felt interrupted). his number is 510-528-1002
Paul Mickiewicz is the guy; tel # 848-8893
I would like a recommendation for a reliable, VERY
reasonably priced person to clean my chimney.
In response to the person looking for a reasonably priced, reliable chimney sweep, I recommend Berkeley Chimneys. They did some work for us a couple years ago -- their prices were reasonable, work was good, and they even recommended (rightly) against an expensive repair.
Reasonably priced chimney sweep?
Hello, we are looking for a current recommendation for
chimney sweeping, including cost and availability of
service. Any tips? Thanks,
We used Mick from Berkely Chimneys. He was great. I think
he charged about $125 for a one-story chimney and $145 for
a two-story. He was quick and also gave us some advice on
the state of our mantle which is pulling away from the
wall. He also did an inspection and sealed a crack that
had formed inside our firebox.
I really liked him -- his rates were competitive and he
was thorough and efficient.
I don't have his number handy, but he's listed in the
Someone to clean our chimney
We are looking for someone to clean our chimney. Does
anyone have someone they can recommend?
We used ''Sweep clean, clean sweep chimney sweep'',
about 2 years ago when we needed some work done
on our chimney, and were very happy with the quality of
work The owners name is George Spears. The number
In response to the person seeking a chimney sweep:
I highly recommend Paul Goodacre of the Chelsea Chimney Co.
Paul does sweeps, inspections, firebox rebuilding, seismic
bracing, and so on. He's reasonably priced, reliable,
clean, knowledgeable, and straightforward.
We just met with Mick of Berkely Chimneys. He was
recommended to us by our neighbors that used him to put in
a flu, sweep the chimney, and do some minor repairs. We
need the same sort of work, so he gave us a (free)
estimate, but we plan to use him for the work - liked him a
lot. I know he generally charges around $100 for cleaning,
depending on the size/condition of your chimney, but he'll
come over and give you an estimate for free. You can reach
him at 510-528-1002
I had Master Sweep Chimney service come once in 1998 and
once last month. They did a fine job although not
necessarily outstanding. Our one-story house was $79. I
think in 1998 I had a $20-off coupon from one of those
Valpak-type mailers. 800-sweep31.
David in Berkeley
Paul Mickiewicz, 510-848-8893 is an honest and trustworthy
chimney artisan. Friendly guy, too.
We used The Irish Sweep just last week, which is recommended in the
archives. There was a scheduling hassle -- the initial
appointment had to be rescheduled when the Caldecott tunnel flooded
in November (no fault of theirs, obviously), and the original reschedule
was for a Saturday, since I'd taken off a weekday for the initial
appointment and didn't want to lose any more work time. Then they
rescheduled again (reasons not clear to me), for a weekday this time,
which was a drag. But other than that, they were fine -- very prompt, and
got the job done very quickly. They'll probably be booked up right now,
The Irish Sweep
My chimney needs a new liner. Because Irish Sweep comes so highly
recommended by UCB parents I called them first. They wanted $95 to inspect
the chimney plus $450 to make a video of the interior. This latter charge seems
outrageous to me. I know the company is reputed to do good work, but at what
cost? Has anyone had recent experience with them? Have their prices
generally gone through the roof (so to speak) or is this an anomaly?
Are there other options?
I called the Irish Sweep also recently for a fireplace cleaning and found
them to be very expensive. We had used them about 7 years ago and really
liked them, but this time we used H.Soot Esq. (510) 522-0783. They were
recommended by our neighbor and found them to be reasonable and thorough.
I need the expertise of someone beyond a chimney sweep. When I
bought my house, the pre-purchase inspection revealed that the chimney above
the roof line is unstable and should either be reinforced or replaced. I've
let it go too long (2 years) and would like to have repairs made before the
rainy season. Can anyone recommend individuals or companies who do this?
The fireplace itself needs some repairs, too.
The Irish Sweep does chimney and firebox repairs. They will do a very
thorough visual inspection, using a camera to look at the inside of your
chimney, and tell you what kind of shape your chimney is in and what
they recommend you do to it to make it safe and bring it up to code.
They are really very expert in evaluating chimneys and I highly
recommend them. They also do all sorts of repair and have a contractor's
license. Last fall they replaced the crumbling masonry in my chimney,
rebuilt the firebox, installed all the various things that are required
by law to bring it up to code. The woman who owns the company, Sally,
did a lot of the work herself and it is plain she really likes her work
and takes great pride in it.
Pendergrast Masonry, who we found in the yellow pages,
came out to our house to do a chimney repair.
The job ended up being something that was fixable in just a very
short time, so they didn't charge us for this! So I think that speaks
quite well of the company. Their # is 510 562-6400.
I used The Irish Sweep for fireplace inspection help and for repair last
year. I was VERY pleased with their work and service, and besides, we have
to support those woman-owned businesses. Their prices were fair and they
were honest. Actually, I received a $2,000 quote from another person for
"needed" work that "The Irish Sweep" felt was unnecessary, and so far, they
have been right!!! (Whew).
We've used Sally, The Irish Sweep a couple of times for chimney maintenance
as well as to install a wood stove. She was recommended to us by the managers
of a store that sells wood stoves. She's very prompt, personable and
professional and we were very happy with her service. We also like to
patronize women-owned businesses when we can. The only "complaint" we have
is that she tends to be very booked up. Depending on the specific situation,
it's likely you might need to go elsewhere if you want something done in the
next few weeks (although she may be more flexible if it requires immediate
We recently used Irish Sweep to sweep and inspect our chimneys. We feel they
did an adequate job sweeping but were dissatisfied with their inspection. In
fact they came 3 times and told us 3 different things. They did not offer a
written report until the 3rd time, then they charged us for a video service
which we did not authorize/request. We had used them a long time ago and
liked them but given the choice now, I'd look for another service.
Enzo, from Irish Sweeps is fast, efficient, polite, interesting, and so nice I was
disappointed when he said I didn't need to call him again for 3 years. Irish Sweeps
got here on little notice, and did an excellent job. I'm sure someone else is good too,
but I will call Irish Sweeps next time.
The Irish Sweep is booked until January, so I've got an appointment with Chimney King. Does
anyone have any
experience with this company? Thanks!
I would like a referral for a reliable and reasonable
chimney sweep. We had an appointment 2 weeks in a row
with Chimney King and they failed to show up both times.
I will not waste my time with them again. Any suggestions
will be appreciated.
very happy with Clive's Fireplace Service, 428 0533. Mr. Clive was
Disclaimer: I haven't used Clive in over five years, and can't even
be certain that he's still in business! We stopped making fires
completely when our first daughter was born four years ago. We won't
use our fireplaces again until our younger daughter is old enough to
know that they can be dangerous.
A few years ago I used The Irish Sweep. They showed up on time and
were thorough and neat. I had no complaints. I don't remember how
their prices compared to others.
Re: chimney sweeps: I recommend The Irish Sweep. They were
recommended by a house inspector we had, and we've called them for things
related to chimney construction (vents, spark arrestors) as well as cleaning.
I recently used the "Irish Sweep" for the first time and was very
impressed with them.
We used The Irish Sweep about 2 years ago. A very professional woman (I
assumed she was the owner) and an assistant. Several of my neighbors had
used her service and were also pleased.
Repair broken fireplace damper?
Our fireplace damper won't close any more (it''s stuck in open position).
and our cold old (1945) house is even colder. We stuff the chimney with
newspapers in between rare fires.
Has anyone tried a chimney-top damper? Does it help keep the house warm?
Looks like they cost about $150 + labor. How much WITH labor? Any
recommendations for someone to put one in?
We had our old damper (1936, didn't close) cut out and replaced with a
chimney-top damper by The Irish Sweep. They did a fine job. It was over 10
years ago so I don't recall what it cost. We didn't notice our house being
warmer--our living room has a very high ceiling so even if the heat stayed in, it
wouldn't stay where we are. We've found vertical blinds (over the windows) to be
effective for keeping the heat in.
A friend of mine just bought a house that doesn't have a damper at all. She is
going to have a face plate made for the opening of the fireplace. Her idea is to
use a hardwood, carved or painted, and designed for the specifics of her
We had the same problem a couple of years ago with our fireplace and my
husband bought the parts and put in a
chimney top damper. According to him it was very easy to install and it took
about an hour to complete the
project. It required unscrewing the spark arrester on top of the chimney,
applying some sealing goop (comes
with the damper)and then dropping the chain down the chimney, placing the
new damper on top of the goop and
then replacing the spark arrester. For the actual fire place, you need a drill and
masonry bit to attach
the bracket that opens and closes the damper. All these instructions come with
the kit. We only light
fires in the fireplace once or twice a year so can only comment on light use, but
we've been very pleased
with the results. Good luck.
A couple of years ago, I read an interesting article in one of
the local papers (''The Planet'' perhaps) about the health
hazards of breathing particulate matter that eminates from wood-
burning chimney smoke, particularly for children who play
outside in the still, cold air and who may be outside for an
extended period for Halloween trick-or-treating. I'm wondering
if anyone can offer advice on how to learn more about this
hazard (what other resources and groups) and also educate my
neighbors. I only know that it's supposed to be very bad to
breath this smoke, so we don't use our own fireplace, but we
live in the Kensington hills, and it seems our neighbors think
nothing of burning wood whenever the mood strikes them. Some
nights, I open my door and feel a strong smoke odor that almost
knocks me over. If anyone has advice on how best to tackle this
problem tactfully with neighbors while also learning the
specifics of why this is so dangerous, please let me know.
Wood fires not only pollute the air, they cool the structure. If
the house does not get smoky when the fireplace is in use, it
indicates that the chimney is ''drafting.'' That means the warm
air in the house is going up the chimney, and cold air is coming
in from cracks around windows and doors. I think candles in the
fireplace is a much better solution.
I'd like to suggest checking out the website at the
environmental protection agency (www.epa.gov). They have a very
nice website that is maintained for the general public. The
EPA's gotten a bad rap lately, but it really is filled with
trained toxicologists who keep up with the latest scientific
literature and try their best to educate the public. Just do a
search for ''fireplace'' or something. Another site you might try
is the Society for Toxicology (www.toxicology.org) which has an
extensive list of links for finding all sorts of good scientific
There is an agency called BAAQMD which enforces air pollution
laws, monitors air quality, and imposes new regulations. They
have some good information on their website about wood fires.
Here's a link to a publication on their website with some good
I work at one of the Bay Area gasoline refineries as an
environmental engineer and consider myself an environmentalist.
I limit the number of fires I have each year due to the
pollution they create. I live in a hilly area and feel my
downhill neighbors probably impact air quality at my house on
The bad new is that wood smoke contains all sorts of harmful chemicals including:
nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, organic gases and particulate matter. Most of
these are in such small quantities that they contribute more to the overall health of
the environment than to the health of any one person inhaling the smoke.
Particulate matter is a possible cause of cancer and is an irritant. Some people with
certain allergies or asthma can have a more sever reaction to smoke.
The good news is that unless you live in Dickensian London, next to a steel plant or
have a coal burning stove in your basement you probably don't have too much to
worry about. Combustion is a pretty natural occurrence and we seem fairly well
adapted to handle it. Too much of anything is dangerous but the diluted chimney
smoke from your neighboors fireplaces is probably not something you should waste
your time with.
This is just one person's opinion...
this page was last updated: Dec 19, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network