Chimney Sweep Scam Alert

On February 8, 2024 I spoke to a new customer who had a harrowing experience.  She lives in an upscale neighborhood in Southern Orange County.  She saw an ad on her neighborhood social media page that advertised 30% of chimney sweeps and the company name was Lucky Sully Chimney Sweep.  We are the only licensed contractor with that name.

She responded to the ad and when the chimney sweeper arrived, she saw he was driving a Prius.  The price she was quoted was $175 (with the 30% discount), but this man (said his name was Ray) said the price was $300 and wanted cash.  He was unable to provide a business card or any stationery with the business name.  He said he was from AM Janitorial Services but had no business card or license.  He said the Lucky Sully bid the job out to him.  We DO NOT bid out jobs to other companies.

If we feel the job is not something we can do, we may refer homeowners to other legitimate chimney companies, but it is up the the homeowner to contact those companies.  We do not receive commissions from these companies.  We do NOT advertise on neighborhood social media sites although some of our customers have written about us on some of these neighborhood pages.

If you find out about us from an ad on social media, please call our main number 714-342-7415 or email us at if you want to do business with us.

chimney sweep scam alert notice

Beware of Chimney Scams

*Consumer Warning*
We have had a large number of customers tell us about companies advertising very low prices for chimney sweeps who then come out and tell the customer the price is really $500-$700 for a chimney sweep (way beyond the usual range).  Customers who agreed to the bait and switch then had these companies do a bad job and ended up with lots of soot in their homes.  When they wrote bad reviews, they were then threatened by these companies.  On checking with the California Contractors License Bureau, none of these companies have contractor’s licenses, so it is illegal for them to charge more than $500.  The company names are often similar to legitimate companies who do have a contractor’s license.

Lucky Sully Chimney Sweep has been serving Long Beach & southern California since 2004. We have over 25,000 satisfied customers. All of our technicians have been with us for at least 15 years. We are committed to giving you the very best in chimney and fireplace services. Get a chimney inspection from a licensed company here.

We are certified, licensed, bonded and insured for your protection.

Chimney scams

Dirty Chimney Being Cleaned

Every time you use your fireplace, soot (creosote) is created and deposited on the inside of your chimney as the smoke travels up the flue. As that substance cools it solidifies and results in a caked on layer that will build up use after use. Creosote is made up of particles from the wood and is incredibly flammable. After enough creosote builds up, it can ignite and launch a fast-spreading, dangerous chimney fire. We will remote this creosote and leave your chimney and fireplace clean and ready for use. At the same time, we will inspect the fireplace and chimney and make sure there are no additional hazards.


Chimney Fire in 30 foot Chimney

This particular chimney fire is in a 30′ chimney.  The owner was negligent in keeping his chimney swept.  Chimney sweeping is to remove highly combustible creosote from from flue.  When a considerable buildup occurs AND and is not removed, it is only a matter of time until the buildup in flue ignites.  In this case the entire inside of flue ignited, creating incredible this torch!  Temperatures in flue go from 350-450F normally up to as much as 1750F in an event like this.  That is really a lot of heat!
Luckily, the owner of this property realized he had a chimney fire and took immediate, fast and very correct procedure and was able to extinguish the chimney fire before much damage occurred. Hats off to him!
NOTE: These types of chimneys are tested to be able to withstand this much heat and are designed to be able to handle the heat IF chimney was installed correctly, has been maintained and has no issues where original build has been compromised either thru misuse or decay from elements.
Regular inspections and cleanings are recommended to ensure your chimney meets industry standards.

Fixed price chimney inspections and cleaning

We get questioned about why our price is higher than the $99 or $69 specials.  Well, I have several answers to that.

To properly service a chimney, it usually takes about an hour, plus 30 minutes driving time to job. Some very dirty chimneys can take up to 2 hours to clean.  So, $99 would not really cover costs to have a good employee, someone we trust in your house, that we trust will do a proper job. Our main purpose is to make sure you will not have any safety issues or hazards which could result in a house fire.  It has been reported that the major source of home fires in the winter is fire places.

We provide an extremely high quality inspection, using a camera down flue, which is especially important with masonry chimneys. We do cleanings without making a mess in your home. We have heard reports of low priced sweeps leaving soot all over.

Many of these low priced companies are not insured or use subcontractors who are not insured.  We have insurance (and will show you our insurance coverage), so if we fall off your roof, you are not liable, we have a contractor’s license, so you can be assured we are a legitimate company and pay all our taxes.

We have had customers report that some of these low priced companies arrive at their home and then up the price for the service to way higher than we charge, some times even double our price.  We provide a fixed price for chimney inspections and cleaning and then do not up the price after we arrive.

If a chimney sweep comes to your home and then increases the price substantially once there, send them on their way and don’t do business with them.

Dirty Chimney Before and After

Here is a dirty chimney we cleaned. You can see the before and after in the video.


Don’t get scammed by unlicensed chimney sweeps

chimney-fireplace-sweepingWe have had several calls from other reputable chimney sweeps that there are at least two chimney sweeps who are going out to people’s homes, quoting a low price and then charging $500 for a sweep.  A customer reported that they did not put down tarps and got soot all over their house.
If you are using a company to sweep your chimney, make sure they have been in business for a while, check their reviews, make sure they carry liability insurance, verify they are not using unlicensed or uninsured subcontractors, check the Contractors State License Board to make sure they have an active license, and also verify that they are not going to be changing the price for the chimney sweep once they arrive.

Getting your chimney ready for Fall

As the temperatures outside go down, it’s time to flip the switch up as we prepare to heat the inside of the home for the autumn months. Chimney fires are the number one cause of fires in homes.

Experts have a checklist several pages deep to regularly check and maintain your chimney, regardless of whether you have a gas or wood-burning one.

“We’re going to look in your chimney in the camera,” Freberg said. “We can see the joints on the inside of the bricks. If there are cracks, it becomes a little more dangerous.”

Often, they find a few surprises. If you don’t have a cap on top of your chimney, animals like birds and squirrels can easily build a home or get caught inside. Those nests or carcasses can easily start a fire where you don’t want one.

Read the full article here

Chimneys are a Major Source of House Fires

house fire, chimney

It was reported recently that fireplaces or chimneys cause about 25,000 house fires per year in the U.S.

The damage is mostly due to flames migrating upward to crack, warp or melt the masonry or metal chimney walls.

How can you prevent chimney fires?

1. Minimize creosote (soot) build up by getting chimneys swept regularly. Clean when there is 1/8″ of soot buildup.
2. Get chimney inspected regularly. This would include a video inspection of the chimney to make sure there are no gaps or cracks which can be a fire hazard. If your chimney sweep only looks down the chimney or uses a hand held mirror, this is not good enough. He will most likely miss many cracks and gaps.
3. Install a chimney cap. The cap can keep out leaves, birds, bees, and rodents. Animal nests can provide fuel for a fire. The cost of removing birds, bees and rodents is much more than the cost of a chimney cap. If you are in a beach community, stainless steel caps will last a lot longer than plain metal ones.

Fireplaces and chimneys have an average life expectance of 30 to 40 years

chimney crackMany homeowners think that chimneys do not require maintenance and last forever.  However the age of a fireplace is very relevant to how safe it is to use.  Most fireplaces and chimneys have an average life expectance of 30 to 40 years.  Water, acids, carbon, and high temperatures all cause erosion and decay.  Eventually, that breaks down the internal integrity of any chimney.

The Chimney Safety Institute reports that in the winter the biggest source of house fires are the use of fireplaces.

Approximately 25% of chimneys built between 1950 and 1990 have hazardous cracks and gaps which can result in a house fire.  These often can not be detected without a video inspection.  These cracks and gaps are usually repairable unless the structure of the chimney has been compromised.

In last month we have seen 2 prefabricated chimneys (built in 1990’s) which are factory built metal units, where the metal flue had rusted out.  The holes in the metal created a fire hazard.  These units are not repairable and can only be replaced.  In both cases, the home inspector noted cracks in the refractory panels but failed to look up the fireplace to see the holes in the metal pipes.

If you have a home that is older than 25 years and you are using your fireplace and you have not had it inspected in the last 5 years, it is important that you get it inspected and cleaned as needed.  The inspection should include a video inspection of the chimney flue to make sure no hazardous conditions exist.   Lucky Sully Chimney Sweep includes this level 2 inspection as part of its inspection and cleaning services.