What is a Chimney Sweep and What Do We Do?

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That’s me, and I sweep chimneys. Next question! Okay, yes I realize that didn’t fully answer your questions, so I’ll elaborate. I’m sure you’ve seen the children’s favorite chimney sweep movie, Mary Poppins. We’re actually nothing like that, save the fact that we do clean chimneys. We do a lot more than that though; we make sure that your chimney, flue, and heat source are in proper working order. We essentially help ensure that your family’s safety is held at a very high standard. Here’s how…

We Clean so You Don’t Have to

A regular vacuum or shop vac will not do the job. Cleaning a chimney flue and fireplace is a very, very dirty job. Soot is one of the most difficult substances to clean. Have you ever had an accidental fire in the kitchen near the stove, or had to clean soot off the wall or ceiling after having lit an oil lamp or dirty-burning candle? Cleaning the soot from your chimney is like that but on a much larger scale. The soot and creosote inside your chimney’s flue may reach a thickness of up to one-eighth of an inch per year depending on how much you use the fireplace or wood burning stove. 

Don’t get me started on the smell!

We Inspect the Chimney

Many things can go wrong with your chimney. Cracks in the masonry must be repaired. A certified chimney sweep can perform those repairs for you. All pieces of the chimney from the firebox to the chimney crown and cap must be inspected to ensure that they are working properly. 

A compromised chimney crown may be letting moisture inside the chimney liner. This can cause cracks in the liner. 

A compromised chimney cap may allow small animals to seek refuge within your chimney. The chances of a small animal or bird nesting in the flue or unfortunately dying in there are relatively high. This type of blockage in the chimney puts your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

We Inspect the Flue

The flue is more commonly known as the liner. The chimney liner is a long tube that allows smoke and fumes to travel outside your home. Cracks in the flue can be deadly, as carbon monoxide fumes may be pushed back into the home. Carbon monoxide is nicknamed the silent killer because it is absolutely invisible and has no smell. Flue cracks aren’t always visible when you shine a bright light up or down the chimney.

Additional Duties

Many chimney sweeps include dryer vent cleaning in our list of commonly-performed chores. Cleaning the dryer vent is much the same as cleaning the flue, and a full vent is highly combustible, just like creosote. This is also a job best left to a professional with a good amount of specialized tools.

We also advise clients on safety concerns we see while inspecting and cleaning. If you have any questions about your chimney or flue, or the cleaning process, feel free to ask them in the comments section or call me. I am fully certified, licensed, bonded, and insured to work in the greater Philadelphia area. 

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