Chimney Sweeps: What Do You Need To Know

chimney sweep

Chimney Sweep Charleston SC is highly respected professionals who help homeowners maintain safe fireplaces, stoves, flues, and chimneys. A good sweep will use a dust mask, drop cloth, and dual HEPA filter vacuum to ensure your home is clean.

chimney sweepIn the past, chimney sweeps often used small children, known as climbing boys, to climb into narrow chimney passageways. These children worked hard from dawn to dusk under challenging conditions.

Chimney sweeps are certified technicians who use an array of equipment to clean the chimney, flue and fireplace of a wood-burning fireplace or stove. They remove accumulated soot and creosote (a thick, hard coating of toxic debris that is formed when wood, fossil fuel or tar is burned) to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in homes. Chimney sweeps are also trained to assess and repair chimney problems, including leaks, cracks, blockages, and damaged mortar joints.

Chimney sweeping is not an easy job. It can be extremely messy and requires a high level of skill. In addition to using brushes, brooms and extension poles, chimney sweeps use specialized tools that allow them to clean the interior of a chimney without damaging it. They can also use a vacuum to decrease soot levels in the home. Before entering a chimney, they should place a drop cloth or plastic over the floor and cover any furniture that could be impacted by soot.

They may also need to remove a chimney cap and replace it with a new one if it’s damaged. They can then use a hose or vacuum to wash the flue and fireplace, as well as brushing out any remaining soot from inside the firebox. Finally, they should remove any ash and creosote from the fireplace bed and clean it thoroughly.

The profession of chimney sweeping has a long and storied history. In the early 1600s, England started charging a hearth tax that was based on the number of chimneys a house had. To avoid the tax, builders began connecting flues together. This created narrow, pitch black chimneys that were difficult to sweep. Many children who worked as chimney sweeps in this time died from falls and from inhaling soot and smoke fumes.

Today, chimney sweeps are much more sanitary and safer than they were in the past. When chimneys are properly cleaned and inspected, they can efficiently carry carbon monoxide and other hazardous by-products of burning fuel out of the home. In addition, a clean chimney helps to prevent costly repairs and reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.


Chimney sweeps are trained professionals who clean chimneys, fireplaces, and flue pipes to prevent fires. They are also well-versed in the construction of fireplaces and chimneys and know applicable building codes. They use specialized tools to remove creosote, the toxic, flammable, and sticky byproduct of wood smoke, from chimneys. They also clear obstructions from leaves, twigs, small animal nests and other debris that may block the chimney’s flue. In addition, they can spot structural problems like cracks or breaks.

Before the advent of modern heating systems, coal-burning fireplaces were common. This led to the creation of a profession known as chimney sweeps. Typically, chimney sweeps were men, but sometimes they hired children to do the dangerous work of climbing into hot and narrow chimneys. These children, called “climbing boys,” were essentially enslaved to the chimney sweeps. They were often sold to chimney sweeps by their parents or obtained from orphanages. They were often ill-treated and suffered from poor living conditions. They were prone to soot-related illnesses, including lung diseases and skin infections. They were exposed to asbestos and often worked with dangerous chemicals.

The life of a chimney sweep was not an ideal one, but it was better than being poor and uneducated. Many of these children were orphaned, and they were frequently forced to sign papers of indenture, allowing them to be permanently tied to the chimney sweeps. They were also susceptible to suffocation and other physical injuries. Despite the dangers, chimney sweeps remained a vital part of the economy in England until late in the 18th century.

During the course of chimney sweeping, a reputable chimney sweep will use a brush and vacuum to remove creosote from the flue. They may also vacuum up dust, twigs, and debris. They will also remove animals and bird nests. They will also make sure that the flue is free of obstructions that can cause the chimney to draft incorrectly and allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home.

Whether they are cleaning wood-burning chimneys or gas stoves and fireplaces, a qualified chimney sweep will follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. These include wearing protective equipment and removing all loose debris from the area around the fireplace before starting the cleaning process. A professional chimney sweep will also use drop cloths and plastic to protect the floor of the home from dirt and ash. They will also bring a HEPA filter vacuum to keep dust levels low.


Chimney sweeps must have a good reputation in order to gain repeat business. The way to achieve this is through word of mouth. Many chimney sweeps work as independent contractors, so they must generate their own client base by door-to-door conversations and through local advertising. They also need to have enough money stashed away to keep them through lull periods.

If you’re looking for a chimney sweep, it’s important to find one that is licensed and insured. This will protect you against fraud and ensure that the company has the proper credentials to do their work. You can check with your local Better Business Bureau or the New York Home Improvement Contractor License to find out if a particular chimney company is legitimate. You should also look for references and testimonials. If a chimney sweep does not provide these, it’s best to move on to another option.

Many chimney sweeps are able to detect signs of trouble in chimneys, such as leaking liners and masonry damage. Some of them are even able to recommend repairs, such as relining or masonry repair. However, chimney sweeps should never try to pressure you into making a decision on the spot. They should also leave their findings with you in writing or electronic form. If you disagree with a sweep’s recommendation, ask them to explain why they think it’s necessary.

In addition to finding a trusted chimney sweep, it’s important to look for a company that has an established online presence and a solid track record. If a company has an active website and positive reviews, you can be sure they’re reputable. Make sure to read the company’s website carefully, and look for a contact number.

If you want to hire a professional chimney sweep, be sure that they have both a workman’s compensation and general liability insurance policy. An uninsured chimney sweep may not have the skills needed to complete the job, or they could cause property damage while working on your home.


Chimney sweeps clean chimneys and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, fires and other hazards. They also provide repairs to deteriorating chimneys and fireplaces. They are usually members of professional organizations that maintain high standards of conduct and expertise. Their work can be expensive, but it is a necessary service to ensure that your family is safe and warm in winter.

The cost of chimney cleaning depends on many factors, including your location and the number of chimneys in your home. In addition, some companies may charge extra for difficult-to-reach chimneys. For these reasons, it is important to ask about the price before hiring a chimney sweep.

Before a chimney sweep arrives, you should make sure the flue is cool and that the fireplace isn’t in use. You should also clear the grate of any ash or debris. Chimney sweeps will need a clear passage to the chimney and sufficient space to work in. They will also need to remove any decorations or rugs in the area surrounding the fireplace.

During the era of coal and wood fireplaces, chimney sweeps were often children. They were indentured servants of master chimney sweeps and worked as young as five or six years old. They used their backs, knees and elbows to climb the chimneys, brushing the creosote as they went along. Many of them suffered from deformities due to the poor positions they were forced into as they made their way up the chimneys. Chimney sweeps are often portrayed in books, movies and artwork as having fun, but the reality was much different. Most of the boys were orphans and were sold by their parents or taken from orphanages to become chimney sweeps.

Today, chimney sweeps use specialized tools to clean the chimney. They may start from the bottom up or top down, depending on how difficult it is to access the chimney. They may also use a shop vac to decrease soot levels in the house. In addition, they will use a camera to check the condition of the chimney.