Clean Chimney Sweep Charleston will inspect and clean your fireplace, stove, flue, and chimney. Sweepers might do this from inside your home or the roof and use various tools. Chimney sweeping is dangerous work. In the past, boys as young as six climbed hot flues barefoot to gather soot for their master sweep employers.
When wood burns, the resulting smoke contains unburned wood particles, gases, water vapor, and other chemical compounds. As the smoke rises and cools, it begins to condense along the walls of the chimney flue, leaving behind a sticky tar-like residue known as creosote. Creosote is highly flammable and is dangerous to have in your fireplace and chimney system. The accumulation of creosote leads to two primary chimney hazards: chimney obstruction and chimney fires.
Chimney sweeps work with a wide range of equipment and tools to clean chimneys. They use drop cloths to protect floors and furnishings, a HEPA-rated vacuum for dust control, and wire brushes to remove brushable creosote from the flue. They also inspect the chimney to determine the stage of creosote buildup and what cleaning methods are best for the situation.
The first step in preventing a chimney fire is sweeping regularly. Chimney sweeps are recommended a minimum of twice a year for homeowners who burn wood in their fireplaces or use a gas-fueled stove or insert. The second way to prevent a chimney fire is by using seasoned wood, which has been exposed to the sun for several years and has less moisture than fresh or green wood. Seasoned wood burns more quickly and completely, reducing the amount of unburned material entering the chimney and flue.
Creosote buildup is important to remove, but it’s equally crucial to know when it has reached a point of no return. In stage three, the tar-like creosote becomes so thick and hard that it can severely restrict flue airflow and lead to a chimney fire.
A chimney fire is extremely dangerous, as the combustible creosote can cause a house fire or poison the home with carbon monoxide fumes. Those who see puffy creosote along the walls of their chimney, cracks in the chimney masonry that weren’t there before, or other signs of excessive creosote should call a professional immediately. Chimney sweeps can safely remove the chimney creosote without damaging the liner, but homeowners should never try to clean it themselves.
When animals make their home inside your chimney, it can create health and safety hazards and costly damage to your home. Animals can be difficult to identify, but physical clues such as chirping and flapping may indicate a nest of birds, or the sound of claws or paws on your fireplace floor can be a sign that an unwanted critter has taken up residence in your chimney. Smelly droppings or a foul odor from your fireplace indicate an animal living rent-free in your chimney.
Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals often use chimneys to make their homes. They seek a dry, warm place protected from the elements and free of predators. Vents can be very attractive to these animals, and if the damper is left open during non-use, it is very easy for them to take up residence.
If a raccoon or squirrel takes up residence in your chimney, you’ll often hear their frantic scratching sounds as they attempt to escape the flue. These animals can carry diseases harmful to humans, such as rabies and histoplasmosis. They can also leave behind parasites that can infect you and your family.
Bats are another animal that can make their way into a home’s chimney. These animals, which normally live in caves, seek out similar areas, such as chimneys, to hang upside down and protect themselves from predators. They are most active at dusk and dawn, and you may hear them entering and exiting your chimney, as well as a high-pitched chirping sound that sounds more like whirring than flapping.
These critters can cause expensive damage to your chimney and your house. Besides making your home less livable, they can also increase the risk of chimney fires and introduce allergens like fleas, diseases, droppings, and feces. A professional chimney sweep can quickly and safely remove these unwanted residents for your safety and the health of your home. They can also help you install a new chimney cap to keep these critters from coming into your chimney in the first place.
A wood-burning fireplace and chimney can be the source of unpleasant odors. It is due to creosote, a byproduct of wood combustion that can stick to the walls of your flue and give off an unpleasant campfire odor. The odor can also spread through the house, sinking into carpeting, curtains, and furniture. A professional chimney sweep can remove the odor and prevent it from returning by scheduling regular sweepings and inspections.
Chimney sweeps must be prepared to deal with all critters that may find their way inside the chimney. It is not uncommon for raccoons, squirrels, and birds to access homes through the vent. While chimney caps with mesh netting help to keep animals out, if these are damaged, it’s not impossible for animals to make their way in and out of the chimney. If the animal can’t get out, it usually defecates in the chimney, creating a foul smell. Sometimes, the animal will die in the chimney, which can also cause an unpleasant odor.
A professional chimney sweeper will have the tools and equipment to safely remove the animals and clean up the mess they leave behind. They will use drop cloths to protect your floors and furnishings and a HEPA-rated vacuum to decrease the dust levels in your home. They will also have wire brushes and other tools to remove any brushable creosote from the interior walls of your chimney.
The job of a chimney sweep is a dirty and gritty one. Sweepers will be exposed to soot, dust, and other irritants regularly, and they will need to wear protective gear, including masks, goggles, and gloves. A Level Three inspection may require the chimney sweep to enter concealed areas of the house or structure, which can be hazardous without the proper safety gear. The best way to ensure that your chimney sweep is qualified and experienced is by interviewing them before hiring them. Ask about their work history and what services they provide.
In addition to ensuring that your chimney is clean and free of obstructions, a sweep will also look for potential problems. They can identify areas of concern and recommend repairs or other work that needs to be done. It can save you money in the long run and help ensure your fireplace and chimney function properly and safely.
Chimney sweeps are trained to use safety equipment, including masks and face guards. They are experienced in climbing high ladders and working in tight spaces. They will also be careful not to damage your home while removing masonry, bricks, and other debris from the chimney structure. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your fireplace, chimney, wood stove, and venting system inspected and cleaned at least once a year. It is especially important if you have young children or pets and the fireplace is used frequently.
Before hiring a chimney sweep:
- Interview several to find the right fit for your family.
- Ask about their training, experience, and certifications.
- Look for references from past customers, online reviews, and personal recommendations.
It would be best to ask the sweep about their services, pricing, and any additional services they offer.
While the life of early chimney sweeps, often called “sweeping boys,” has been romanticized in stories, movies, and artwork, the reality was often harsh and brutal. These were poor orphan boys or children sold by their parents into the trade. The boys would often spend their entire lives in this laborious and dangerous profession.
The life of a modern chimney sweep is much different. Although sweeping is still dangerous and requires skills and knowledge refined over the centuries, the risks are significantly lower than in the past. Today, chimney sweeps are certified by the National Fireplace Institute and the Chimney Safety Institute of America and are trained in the latest safety procedures.
The sweep will clean your fireplace, chimney flue, and venting system to remove creosote buildup, obstructions, and animal nests. Depending on the extent of the cleaning required, it may take up to a few hours. The sweep will ensure the chimney and fireplace are completely safe before leaving your home.