Tag: chimney services

What Exactly Do Chimney Sweeps Do? 

Chimney Sweep Charleston can remove accumulated creosote and debris, allowing for better heat distribution and energy efficiency. They can also clear obstructed flues and repair cracks and other chimney damage.

Chimney Sweeps

When choosing a chimney sweep, look for one with certifications and a track record of service. They should also offer transparent pricing.

A chimney sweep is a popular character in fairy tales and children’s stories. The profession is also regarded as a symbol of good luck. This reflects the fact that these men and women still work in what essentially resembles a blackened maze, although their job has changed somewhat as gas replaced coal for home heating (followed by a brief resurgence of coal).

During the Middle Ages to the early 19th century, many people used small boys to climb chimneys. These boys, or “climbing boys” as they were known, climbed through the maze-like chimneys in exchange for employment and food. They worked from dawn to dusk and ran the risk of becoming stuck in narrow flues or suffocating in smoke, and they suffered long term effects such as deformed limbs and breathing problems from inhaling soot particles.

Some of these young children were orphans and others had been sold by their parents to a master sweep. The master sweep would often have complete control over the child, even signing papers to make the boy his legal guardian. The boy was tied to his craft until adulthood and could not leave the occupation.

Chimneys were very dirty back then and soot was a major concern. Many chimneys were so thick with soot that they were almost impenetrable. It was common for the climbing boys to get stuck inside or to die from carbon monoxide poisoning. The inhalation of soot also led to cancer of the lungs, and this is believed to be one reason that chimney sweeps rarely lived past middle age.

In addition to the climbing boys, master sweeps would also sometimes use geese. They would tie the legs of the goose together and then drop it down the chimney. The frightened bird would flap its wings to help break down the soot, and they were also credited with inventing the brush style that is still in use today.


When chimney sweeps arrive at your house they will bring various pieces of equipment to clean your fireplace and flue liner. They will need to have a clear path from where they park their truck through your front door and into the home to get to the area they will work in. A little rearranging of furniture and odds and ends will help make this happen.

The main tool chimney sweeps use resembles a giant bottle brush with metal bristles around the top. They will use this and a vacuum cleaner to decrease soot levels in your home. If they have to, chimney sweeps will wear face masks and goggles to protect their health and safety. They will begin either from inside your firebox or if the chimney has a roof access, they will start from there and work their way down. They will scrape away the coating that accumulates on your fireplace lining from numerous fires and then vacuum the debris into a hopper or bucket to be disposed of later. They will also remove any logs that are currently in the firebox and the grate.

As you can imagine this process is messy and a little dangerous for chimney sweeps. Having a clear area to work in will make their job a lot easier and more efficient. This is why it’s important to avoid using your fireplace or having a fire in it for 24-48 hours before your appointment.

Back in the day, Master Sweeps often could not fit into hot chimneys and would employ “Climbing Boys.” These were orphans as young as four who climbed on the inside of the chimney to scoop out soot. These boys were at high risk of getting stuck in the chimney or suffocating. They were also prone to chimney sweeps’ carcinoma, a form of cancer that can be caused by exposure to soot.

Chimney sweeps are well aware of the dangers of their work and will always do their best to keep themselves protected, however, you can help by having a few things ready for them when they arrive. For example, it is a good idea to have a large bucket or tarp nearby to catch the creosote residue as they sweep and dispose of it. You should also move any furniture away from the fireplace or cover it with a protective cloth to prevent soot and dirt particles from getting on your belongings.


Chimney sweeps are trained to remove flammable creosote, which builds up in the flue every time a fire burns. Creosote is responsible for chimney fires that can damage your fireplace, chimney and home. They also remove drafting obstructions, such as leaves, twigs and birds’ nests that narrow the chimney and prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from drafting efficiently through your fireplace.

A chimney sweep will use brushes, scrapers, brooms and a heavy-duty commercial vacuum to clean your fireplace and chimney. They’ll work carefully to avoid causing any damage to the lining or masonry structure, but the job will still be messy. It’s important to clear the area around your fireplace and chimney before they arrive. You should move any rugs or furniture away from the fireplace and cover them with plastic or drop cloths to protect them from dust. It’s also a good idea to clear any fireplace tools or anything else that could get in the way of their work.

During the cleaning, a chimney sweep will examine the lining and masonry of your chimney and fireplace for signs of cracks or erosion. They will also remove any glazed creosote that has built up along the chimney walls. Chimney sweeps will also clean the fireplace smoke shelf and smoke chamber.

When the chimney sweeps are finished, they will give you a written inspection report with professional advice. They’ll recommend how often your chimney should be swept, and they may also recommend that you make some repairs.

It’s recommended that you have your chimney swept 4-6 times per year, depending on how much you use your fireplace and how many cords of wood you burn. A regular chimney sweeping will help your fireplace and chimney to last longer and prevent chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning or other problems that can be caused by an unclean or poorly functioning chimney system. Before hiring a chimney sweep, check that they’re certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). A CSIA certified professional should have no problem explaining their certifications and showing you proof of insurance.


Sitting by a warm fire on a cold winter night is a relaxing activity that helps most people wind down and unwind. But, it’s important to ensure that fireplaces and chimneys are functioning properly. Failure to do so can lead to problems such as smoke and gas leaks, and chimney fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney, fireplace and vents inspected at least once a year to prevent such issues.

Chimney sweeps are trained to identify and repair structural chimney problems, and also inspect and clean fireplaces, chimneys and flue pipes to help prevent gas leaks and chimney fires. They follow strict standards and guidelines that guarantee a quality, professional job. They also inform homeowners about correct burning techniques to reduce emissions and prevent soot buildup.

During the chimney inspection, the chimney sweep will look for cracks in the brick that can cause mortar to crumble or fall from the chimney. They will also check the chimney cap and grate for loose, missing or damaged parts. They will also look for bird or animal nests in the chimney and check that the flue liner is in good condition.

If the chimney is still in sound condition, the chimney sweep will clean it from the top down, including the chimney crown and any masonry. They will also clean the chimney lining, smoke chamber damper and smoke shelf. If the chimney is showing signs of deterioration, the chimney sweep may suggest the installation of a new flue liner.

The chimney sweep will also assess the firebox, looking for cracked or loosened bricks that need to be repaired. They will also take a look at the exterior of the chimney, looking for areas that need to be sealed or weatherproofed.

The chimney sweep will then test the fireplace and ventilation system for carbon monoxide and smoke. Finally, they will check the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, replace them if needed and make sure that all fire extinguishers are in working order.