Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Browse the questions we are asked most often. If you don’t see your question here or want additional information about our services, please get in touch. We’re always happy to talk to our customers.

How often should I get my chimney inspected and cleaned?

We recommend that you have your chimney cleaned at least once a year, especially if you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove frequently. Regular cleaning helps remove the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable substance that leads to chimney fires. However, if you notice any signs of blockage or excessive soot, you should get it cleaned immediately.

What are the signs that mean my chimney needs to be repaired?

Several signs indicate that your chimney may need repair. These include crumbling mortar or bricks, water leaks, a smoky or strong odor, excessive creosote buildup or a damaged chimney cap. Additionally, if you notice any cracks in the chimney or you experience drafting issues, you should have the chimney inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

How much time is required for a chimney repair or cleaning service?

The duration of a chimney repair or cleaning service depends on the extent of the work required. Typically, a routine cleaning and inspection is completed within an hour, while more complex repairs may take longer. We recommend that you schedule an appointment so that our chimney technician can assess the condition of your chimney and provide an estimated time frame for the service.

What does a cleaning and inspection include?

Our cleaning and inspection process starts by laying a clean drop cloth in front of the fireplace to protect your floor and nearby area throughout the cleaning process. Our certified technician thoroughly sweeps the interior of your chimney, brushing all the creosote deposits from inside the chimney. The technician then vacuums these flammable particles of creosote from both the smoke shelf and the firebox using a double filtered vacuum to remove these particles from the system.

Following the cleaning, the technician uses a live-feed camera to inspect the interior of your chimney. You can watch this live video and view the interior of your chimney, too. After the interior inspection the technician inspects the exterior of the chimney from the roof.

At the completion of the inspection, the technician shares a written assessment of our 20-point inspection process and discusses any concerns with you. The entire appointment takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

We have a gas fireplace. Does it need to be cleaned?

Gas fireplaces typically do not require frequent cleanings — once every 2 – 5 years is sufficient. Occasionally symptoms arise with gas fireplaces that warrant a more frequent cleaning. Evidence of moisture, debris or other dirt that has fallen into your chimney or any indication that critters have gained access to your chimney are among the symptoms that warrant a cleaning. That being said, some homeowners prefer to replace their log sets or have dusty fireplace rocks and glassware cleaned more frequently.

What credentials or certifications do your technicians hold?

Each of our technicians is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Vertical has been in business since 1985 and has developed a thorough 20-point inspection process that meets or exceeds the requirements of the CSIA. The average tenure of our technicians is 10 years.

I think I might have a critter in my chimney. Can you take care of this?

If the animal in your chimney is still alive, we may need to call animal control to assist with removal. After confirming that no live animals are currently in the chimney, the technician conducts the standard cleaning and inspection process. If there is evidence that critters have been there but no animals are presently in place, the technician looks for access points and makes recommendations to prevent future access. If a deceased critter is found within your chimney, we assess an additional fee for its removal. 

How do you clean the dryer vent? Tell me more about dryer vent cleaning.

The technician uses a soft brush on a spinning drill, vacuum suction and forced air equipment designed specifically for the flexible material of the dryer exhaust vent. This typically requires the technician to move the dryer (or stacked washer and dryer) away from the wall. The technician will reconnect and return the machine to its original position upon completion of the cleaning.

How often should I get my dryer vent cleaned?

We recommend that this service be performed annually for larger households that use the clothes dryer frequently and for households with pets.

I need a masonry estimate because we have water/moisture entering in or near the chimney. Is this covered under your free masonry estimate?

We are happy to come to your home and perform a visual inspection to provide you with an estimate. If a visual inspection doesn’t allow us to determine exactly where the water/moisture is occurring, a water test may be necessary. There is a charge for the water test but the technician will talk to you prior to conducting any testing that incurs a fee. 

Vertical provided me with a masonry estimate a couple of years ago but we weren’t ready to move forward at that time. Is the estimate still valid?

Masonry estimates are valid for 12 months. Because further brick erosion is likely to have occurred since the original estimate due to the Midwest’s freeze and thaw patterns, a new estimate is required after 12 months to verify the amount of work needed to rebuild or repair the chimney.

How can I be sure that the bricks you are using to repair or rebuild my chimney will match my existing bricks?

Prior to beginning any work, we bring a selection of bricks to your home, along with our recommendation, so you can make the final choice. Because brick availability fluctuates, we procure the bricks immediately upon your approval.