Chimney sweeps are not a relic of the past. Their services are required to keep your home safe while using your fireplace, especially if you burn wood. The job of a chimney sweep is to get your fireplace or wood stove and flue ready to be used for the cold-weather season. Understanding exactly what a sweep does can give you a better appreciation of their services.
When a chimney sweep enters a home to check a chimney, he will examine the fireplace and the flue for signs of creosote build up. If their is build up as little as 1/8th inch or more, the sweep will use special brushes to remove it. Even this small amount of creosote can ignite inside the chimney, causing a fire that could spread to the rest of the home.
Sweeping starts by protecting the room with a large tarp placed at the bottom of the chimney. Equipment used in the sweeping will be set atop this tarp to prevent damage to the floor. The chimney sweep starts at the top of the chimney from the roof to clean the inside of the flue. He will brush the interior with specialty brushes to push down residue that has built up in the chimney’s flue. Masonry and flashing around the chimney on the roof are checked before the chimney sweep returns inside the house to finish the cleaning. Inside, the sweep will brush the creosote from the lower portion of the flue. The sweep will wrap up his service by cleaning out the ashes from the firebox and disposing of them.
Having a chimney sweep come to your home should be an annual service just before you use your fireplace or wood stove. Doing so will help to keep your home safe and ensure that you are ready to use your fireplace safely for the rest of the winter.