Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Save on chimney and dryer vent cleaning, firelogs and your safety too

Posted by: John Ewoldt under Home Security Updated: October 24, 2011 - 10:20 AM

 

 

Over the weekend I had my fireplace chimney cleaned for $45, thanks to The Blind Squirrel deal-of-the-day coupon (since expired). If you need to have yours cleaned and want to pay less, check the daily deal sites, where they have been fairly common. If you're an Angie's List subscriber, check the list. Plus, there is a a daily deal today (Monday, Oct. 24) if you are an Angie's List subscriber.  It's $109 for the cleaning, regularly $219.

 

In my experience, chimney cleaning prices vary dramatically, so even if you can't find a coupon, it's worth calling around. Checkbook has had its subscribers rate local sweeps if you want to get a jump on where to call.  To know you are getting a quality cleaning, ask for a level one cleaning and deal with a CSIA certified chimney sweep.

Conventional wisdom says to have your chimney inspected every year for safety, but it may not need need to be cleaned every year, depending on the fire, said Ashley Eldridge, director of education at the CSIA.

 Manufactured logs such as Duralog firelogs may burn cleaner, but their usage does not decrease any need for cleaning, said Eldridge. Some sweeps believe that the manufactured logs create a waxier buildup, but CSIA-certified sweep Victor Skelley of Copperfield Chimney Sweep in Minneapolis said that occasional but not exclusive use of the manufacturered logs is acceptable.

 

If you like buying the Duralogs for convenience and longer lasting fires, Target has them on sale this week. through Saturday, Oct. 29. A 6-pack of 6-pound logs that are normally $20 are on sale for $17. But you save $10 more if you buy two cases with this coupon from Duralog. You have to register to get the coupon.

 

 

Here's one more important tip: Ask the chimney sweep if they also clean dryer vents (not all of them do). Buildup of lint in the dryer vent is a frequent cause of home fires. I had my cleaned for an additional $45. Then I did a load of laundry after the cleaning. My clothes were completely dry after 25 minutes when it used to take an hour. According to the CSIA website, sweeps can get a separate certification for dryer vent cleaning. Two certified cleaners include London Aire Services in Forest Lake and Dryer Vent Wizard in St. Paul.

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