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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

This a tougher question than it sounds. The simple answer is: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary." This is the national safety standard and is the correct way to approach the problem. It takes into account the fact that even if you donít use your chimney much, animals may build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration that could make the chimney unsafe to use.


The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned at 1/8" of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. Factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any appreciable buildup occurs. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.


Q: What are your rates for a chimney sweep?

Please see our chimney service rate schedule located here.


Q: Will you leave a mess?

We guarantee absolutely No Mess in your home. We always place a clean 4` x 6` tarp in front of the fireplace. Our vacuums filter to .1 micron, and catch airborne particles as we clean the chimney.


Q: How long does it take to clean my chimney?

Masonry chimneys usually take about an hour to clean, from the time we ring your doorbell. Weather conditions can extend this time up to about 1 and 1/2 hours. Pre-Fab Fireplaces take about 45 minutes. Wood burning stoves typically take just over an hour. Fireplace inserts can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on how recently they were professionally serviced, the type of wood burned, and operation of the stove.


Q: 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 and are made in a factory, while a masonry chimney is constructed on site by a 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 wooden chase covered by a metal chase cover lid to shed water and requires a chimney cap on top.


A masonry chimney is built on site using brick and terra cotta flue tiles as a liner and is more expensive to build. Most masonry chimneys do not have chimney caps installed. This allows water and animals to get inside your chimney and sometimes inside your home. A pre-fab fireplace can be removed if damaged and replaced with new unit for less cost than masonry chimney. Pre-fab fireplaces and chimneys are equally as safe as masonry chimneys and fireplaces, as long as they are installed to the manufacturers installation instructions. Both will help to keep you warm on a cold Montana night. .


Q: Do you repair chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves?

YES, we perform all kinds of chimney repairs. We can rebuild fireboxes and chimneys. We also repair crowns, replace rusting chase cover lids, install chimney caps, apply water repellant, tuck pointing, minor masonry repairs, and much more. If you are having problems with your chimney, fireplace, or wood stove we can find a workable solution that suites your budget. Call Big Sky Chimney with your problem, we want to help! 406-995-3385.


Q: What is a chimney liner?

Most masonry chimneys are built with terra-cotta clay tiles stacked and mortared inside the brick structure if built before 1930. These tiles serve as a gas-tight and heat-resistant insulator against the masonry structure. Without a liner, or with cracked liners, heat transfer or actual seepage through the brick and mortar can easily occur. Big Sky Chimney installs stainless steel chimney liners to remedy construction, and aging masonry joints. New chimney liners are gas tight systems insulated for highest efficiency. Chimney liners help solve safety issues in chimneys that have been exposed to a chimney fire, or in older unlined chimney flues. For more info about chimney liners, please call Pete at 406-995-3385.


Q: Do you replace glass for my fireplace doors?

Yes, we can install high temperature ceramic heat glass. We will need the length, width, and thickness of glass. We will also need to know if the glass is fully enclosed in the door frame, or if the edges are exposed. Typical lead time is 7-10 days. Typical cost varies by dimensions. For more info about high temperature heat glass, please call Pete at 406-995-3385.


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