We Perform Thorough Chimney Sweepings In & Near Hillsborough

Whether it’s a rainy spring day, a cool fall evening, or a snowy winter night, nothing improves the ambiance of your space quite like a warm fire in the fireplace. That is… if everything is working appropriately. If you light things up only to find yourself facing foul smells or thick clouds of smoke, then your cozy evening indoors will quickly take a turn for the worst.

Fortunately for Hillsborough homeowners, the crew here at Highpoint Chimney Services knows how essential it is to clean your chimney on a regular basis – and the importance of getting the job done right. If neglected, big issues can arise, putting you, your family, and your home at risk.

Our team of expert chimney cleaning technicians has over two decades of experience, is certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and has been proudly serving clients in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Middlesex Counties for years. Contact us now, so we can clean and maintain your system, helping you avoid expensive chimney repairs down the road.

What You Get When You Work With Us

What do you get when our crew is on the job?

  • Exceptional service from experienced and educated sweeps
  • Honest, fair, and straightforward pricing and estimates
  • A longer life span for your chimney and flue
  • CSIA-certified sweeps on every job
  • Efficient and mess-free services
  • Crews that put your safety first and foremost

Once you trust us for chimney services one time, you won’t want to rely on anyone else again. Our crew offers personalized care with results that speak for themselves. Get started by reaching out today – you won’t regret it.

Technician Cleaning Chimney

Are Your Creosote Levels Severe?

With basic chimney cleaning services, brushes are used to safely eliminate creosote buildup and debris from the chimney. When creosote levels are more severe, though, specialized professional-grade products may be required to remove the creosote without causing damage to your chimney.

Third Stage Remover (TSR) is a product utilized for removing stage 3 creosote, and if your system needs it, our sweeps are trained to get the treatment done safely and effectively. During these jobs, the chemical will be sprayed inside the chimney, then left for a few days. After that, we’ll come back to get your sweeping completed. There may be 3 stages of TSR applications, depending on the severity of creosote build-up.

What is stage 3 creosote?

What exactly is stage 3 creosote? And how does it differ from the normal types of creosote we typically see in chimneys?

Stage 3 creosote – sometimes called glazed creosote – is when your buildup hardens, looking shiny or glossy. Most creosote is either light and flaky or sticky and tar-like – either of these forms aren’t a problem for us to remove with basic techniques and tools. But once it moves past that and hardens up, we’ll need to work in some different strategies.

The best way to confirm whether or not you’re dealing with glazed creosote is by having one of our techs come out and take a look. Schedule your inspection today, so we can look things over and form the best plan for moving forward.

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Chimney Sweeping

What’s the Difference Between Chimney Sweepings & Chimney Cleanings?

You might have seen the terms “sweeping” and “cleaning” tossed around a lot in this industry, both seeming to refer to the same service. This leaves many wondering… what exactly is the difference between the two terms? Or is there a difference?

The terms are used interchangeably in the industry. Chimney cleanings and chimney sweepings refer to the same process of removing creosote, soot, and other debris from the inside of your chimney.

But… is one more correct than the other?

“Chimney sweeping” is technically the correct term. Because let’s face it – could anyone get a used, dirty chimney completely sparkling clean? Probably not. And, even if they could, there wouldn’t be much of a point to it, as it’d serve no purpose and just get dirty again as soon as you light your next fire.

What we can do is sweep out debris, dirt, and excess creosote, so that you can use your system safely and with ease.

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Why do we say “chimney cleaning,” then?

So, why still use the term “cleaning,” when it isn’t actually correct? Because we get a lot of customers who switch between the two and, since we know what they mean when they say it, we’ve decided to roll with it.

Helpful note: All that said, some companies feel there is a subtle difference in meanings between the two words, so it’s good to know what differences they might be referring to.

  • Chimney sweepings generally refer to the process of removing creosote and soot buildup from the flue liner using specialized brushes and tools, focusing on removing any obstructions or buildup.
  • Chimney cleanings may refer to a more comprehensive process that includes not only the removal of creosote and soot, but also the cleaning of the firebox, damper, and other components of the fireplace or stove.

Ultimately, the exact meaning of these terms can vary depending on the context and the service provider. Clarify it all with your chimney professional, so that you know what services to expect and to ensure that your chimney is properly maintained and safe to use.

But when you work with us, you can expect the same process, either way – whether you schedule a cleaning or a sweep.

What Problems Can a Dirty Chimney Cause?

A dirty chimney can cause several problems that not only cause inefficiency, but can put your home and family at risk.

  1. Chimney Fires: One of the most significant risks of operating a dirty chimney is the increased risk of chimney fires. The creosote buildup in the flue can ignite and send flames through the system, which can then break down your masonry and liner, and even cause damage to your home. It also makes your home more vulnerable to fire down the line.
  2. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and highly poisonous gas that is produced when fuel is burned in your fireplace. If the chimney is dirty or blocked, carbon monoxide can back up into the house and cause illness or even death.
  3. Reduced Efficiency: A dirty chimney can reduce the efficiency of your fireplace or stove significantly. Soot and debris buildup restricts airflow and reduces the amount of heat that is produced. This can lead to higher energy bills, less heat output, and a less desirable aesthetic.
  4. Bad Odors: A dirty chimney makes bad odors more prone to enter your home. The creosote buildup can produce a strong, unpleasant smell that can be difficult to get rid of, especially if it mixes with moisture inside of your flue. There also could be lingering odors if animals or nesting materials are lodged up there.
  5. Smoke Damage: If the chimney is blocked or dirty, the smoke from the fire can back up into the house and leave stains on the walls and ceilings, along with hard-to-remove smells. On top of this, like carbon monoxide, smoke can be harmful to the health of those inside of the home.
  6. Structural Damage: Over time, as creosote and dirt remain in your flue, they can weaken the chimney’s bricks and mortar, making it more likely to crumble or collapse. This also invites holes and gaps to form allowing fumes and flames to escape into your home.
  7. Pest Infestations: If birds or other critters are living in your chimney, this is often the ideal habitat for bugs and other pests to come visit too.
  8. Shorter Chimney Lifespan: The buildup of creosote and other debris can cause corrosion and other damage to the chimney, which can make it more likely to need repairs or replacement parts. And if sweepings and repair services are neglected, your system’s life span will suffer.

This may seem like a lot to take in, especially for someone who uses their chimney a lot – but there’s good news! All of these issues and threats can be avoided by simply getting your sweeping or cleaning booked with our team of experts.

Invest in this maintenance now, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out hundreds or thousands for fireplace or chimney repairs, rebuilds, and new parts later on. We’ve got your back.

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How Do You Clean a Chimney Yourself?

Well, if you ask us – you don’t. Or at least you shouldn’t.

Attempting a chimney sweeping or cleaning yourself can be hazardous, so it’s always recommended that you hire a professional and CSIA-certified chimney sweep to handle the job.

DIY attempts would involve gathering all of the appropriate equipment (chimney brushes, dust masks, goggles, gloves, drop clothes, etc.), properly preparing the fireplace, scrubbing the inside walls of the chimney with a long brush, and sometimes even going up on the roof and removing certain chimney components. Then there’s clean up – using vacuums and brushes to get all the debris that came out of the chimney safely out of your living space.

And with DIY jobs, there’s always the risk that the homeowner unintentionally damaged something or that they simply didn’t get the job done completely – which means a lot of work and time was just put in and your chimney still isn’t safe for use.

Chimney pros know the ins and outs of a chimney and flue better than anyone. There won’t be oversights and there won’t be the risk of damages occurring, either. Once they’re through, you’ll be able to simply rest easy and put your system to use, knowing everything is operating as safely and as efficiently as possible.

Do Creosote Sweeping Logs Work? Are They Safe to Use?

First things first, creosote sweeping logs (or chimney sweeping logs) are safe to use in fireplaces, and tossing them into your fires shouldn’t cause any harm.

But… do they actually work? Probably not the way you’re thinking.

First of all, note that chimney or creosote sweeping logs should never replace a chimney sweeping from a certified professional.

These logs are equipped with potent chemicals designed to actually change the current form of your creosote – meaning that if it’s currently sticky and tar-like, the smoke produced by the logs should help it become looser and flakier. The whole process, then, tends to make creosote easier to remove. …but it doesn’t actually eliminate it from your chimney.

In addition, if your chimney has offsets or nooks and crannies, this flaking and falling creosote can actually create clogs or blockages.

So, use creosote sweeping logs if you wish, just make sure you’re still booking those regular chimney cleanings from a professional too.

What Is a Chimney Fire?

A chimney fire is a fire that occurs inside the chimney or flue of a fireplace or wood stove. The most common cause of these is creosote buildup. These events can be extremely dangerous and can cause significant damage to the chimney, as well as the surrounding areas of the home, so doing what you can to avoid them is a must for maintaining a safer household.

What is creosote?

Creosote is a highly flammable substance that forms in your flue as wood is burned. Essentially, the gases and smoke move up your chimney, then adhere to walls as they cool and condense near the chimney opening. The resulting substance is what we refer to as creosote.

When not regularly cleared out, creosote can accumulate on the walls of the chimney or flue, creating a thick, tar-like substance that is prone to ignite and cause a fire.

Creosote Removal

What are the signs of a chimney fire?

This may seem like a silly question. Wouldn’t the most obvious sign that your chimney is on fire be, well… your chimney being on fire? Unfortunately, it’s not always that obvious.

Some chimney fires are loud, dramatic events, yes. These types are easy to note, and are even sometimes spotted by neighbors or passerbys, who then notify the fire department that help is needed. These fires are fast-burning, and tend to create loud, popping noises and lots of thick, black smoke.

A large portion of chimney fires, though, are more subtle, leaving homeowners completely unaware that a slow-burning fire is crawling through their chimney’s interior. These simply don’t get enough oxygen to become loud and obvious.

That said, they’re still just as dangerous as the more obvious, fast-burning types! In fact, sometimes more so, because homeowners will continue using their system completely unaware that it’s damaged – leading to an increased risk of house fires and gas leaks.

Whatever characteristics your chimney fires take on, they all can cause significant damage to your chimney and any surrounding areas of your home. If you’ve experienced one, don’t put your system to use until a certified sweep can look things over and complete necessary repairs.

What should I do if my chimney is on fire?

If you know your chimney is on fire, do not attempt to extinguish it yourself. Leave your home immediately, get a safe distance away from the house, then call the fire department.

As you leave the home, if possible, close any doors behind you as you go. This can help cut off air flow to the fire, which would prevent it from spreading as quickly.

Are there signs that I’ve already had a chimney fire (and just don’t know it)?

You bet. If you spot any of the following, have a chimney sweep look your system over before lighting any more fires:

  • Puffy creosote or creosote that appears “honey-combed”
  • Discolored and/or distorted chimney caps or chase covers
  • Warped metal on the damper or smoke chamber connector pipe
  • Warping throughout your factory-built (or prefab) metal chimney
  • Smoke escaping through your mortar joints or tile liners
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles – or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna, if it’s near the chimney
  • Creosote flakes on the roof or ground near the chimney
  • Damage to your roofing materials
  • Cracks in your exterior masonry

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How can I avoid a chimney fire?

For avoiding chimney fires, the best thing to do is have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional chimney sweep. It’s also important to invest in any repair services and replacement parts as they are needed.

There are also ways in which you can minimize how quickly creosote accumulates. By burning only dry, seasoned wood and avoiding burning trash, paper, or other materials in your fireplace or wood stove, you won’t see this substance build up nearly as quickly. We also advise building hot, fast-burning fires, and making sure your airflow isn’t restricted, either.

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover repairs after a chimney fire?

It might – it just depends on your specific insurance policy, as well as the circumstances surrounding the incident. That said, most homeowner policies do cover damage done by a chimney fire. These events often fall into the “sudden occurrence” category (like a tornado, flood, or earthquake would), which means your insurance should help you out.

What your coverage entails will simply depend on the specifics of your policy, such as the coverage limits and deductibles. But you’ll definitely want to discuss the event with your agent to see what you qualify for – you could end up saving some substantial dollars.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding your coverage, it’s always best to speak with your insurance provider directly. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate information and help guide you through the claims process.

How Much Do Chimney Sweepings Cost?

Well, it’s an answer homeowners hate, but it’s the only one we have – it depends.

The cost of your cleaning can vary based on:

  • the size of your flue
  • the location of your chimney
  • how much creosote you have
  • whether you have level 3 creosote
  • whether animals are in your flue
  • how accessible your chimney is
  • …and more

This is why booking those annual inspections is so important. These give your sweeps the best opportunity to see where your system stands, then get you the care you need before things get worse – and more expensive to address.

By calling us now, we can answer your questions, get an idea where your system stands, then move forward with scheduling and getting you an estimate.

Dirty Chimney Cleaning

Can a Dirty Chimney Make You Sick?

Yes – a dirty chimney can affect the air quality in your home, as well as your chimney’s ability to properly vent, which can then cause those in the home to get ill.

When a chimney is dirty or blocked up by creosote or debris, harmful gases (like carbon monoxide, allergens, smoke, and more) have a harder time escaping, and are much more prone to enter your household. These fumes can trigger all kinds of issues from small ailments, like a cough or cold, to bigger issues that might land you in the hospital.

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What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that can’t be seen and doesn’t have any odor – which makes it next to impossible to detect. This is a problem, as it can cause serious health problems when inhaled, including nausea, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and even death if exposure lasts long enough.

Avoid carbon monoxide exposure – as well as exposure to other fireplace fumes – by booking your sweepings on a regular basis.

In addition to this, invest in carbon monoxide (and smoke) detectors for your household. Install them on every level of the home, as well as outside any sleeping areas, and have them all synced. That way, if one goes off on a level of your home that no one is on, you’ll still be notified.

Schedule With Our Dependable Crew Today

Our experts are known throughout Hillsborough and the surrounding areas for their honesty, reliability, and exceptional customer service. We’re polite, happy to answer your questions, and promise to treat you, your home, and your family with respect.

Thanks to our decades of experience, our training and certification with the CSIA, and our membership with the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), we know our stuff when it comes to keeping your chimney in good shape for the long haul.

To schedule, call us at 908-864-4114 or you can reach out to us through our site to get this process moving. We can’t wait to prove ourselves to you.


There are many answers to the question,”Why choose us?” Here at Highpoint Chimney, we look forward to serving you as you discover your own answers!