Why You Should Hire a Chimney Sweep

A reputable chimney sweep will be able to inspect your fireplace and flue. Clean Chimney Sweep Charleston will also clean your chimney and, if necessary, repair any damage.

Chimney Sweep

Chimney sweeps work hard to help keep families safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. In the past, chimney sweep boys were often abused and even died from their work.

Your chimney is a safe and efficient way to heat your home and must be regularly maintained. It can become clogged with creosote, the flammable soot that is a natural byproduct of burning wood. This build-up can cause problems for your fireplace, fireplace inserts, and the chimney itself including a reduced flue size, decreased air flow, and odors. Regular cleanings from a qualified sweep can help to prevent these issues and keep your family and pets safe.

The most important thing to remember about a chimney sweep is that they are trained and certified professionals. They should be members of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) or the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), both of which promote professional standards in the industry and ensure that their technicians are well-trained. They should also be insured to cover any damage caused while working at your home.

During a chimney sweep visit, you can expect the chimney sweep to protect your home by laying down a drop cloth or plastic in their work area and using a dual HEPA filter vacuum to decrease the amount of soot that gets on your carpet and walls. They will then use a tool that resembles a giant bottle brush to clean your chimney. They may start from the bottom up or from the top down, depending on how dirty your chimney is.

They can remove soot, animal nests, and other debris with the brush and scraper and will also wash your chimney liner if it is exposed. The liner is typically made of clay or steel and must be cleaned to avoid rusting and to keep it in its best condition.

Many homeowners don’t realize that there are unscrupulous chimney contractors out there who will perform less-than-quality work for a low price. These uncertified chimney sweeps will often try to sell the homeowner on expensive chimney repairs that aren’t necessary. They can also damage the chimney with improper methods and put the family at risk of fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other dangerous consequences.

The job of a chimney sweep wasn’t always like it was romanticized in Mary Poppins or other popular movies. Early chimney sweeps were usually young boys who worked hard in squalid conditions. They had to climb hot chimneys and often got stuck, suffocated, or died in the narrow chimney flues. They frequently slept in basements and covered themselves with filthy soot sacks.


The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your fireplace, chimney and venting system inspected and cleaned at least once a year. This is especially important if you use the fireplace often, and especially if you burn solid fuel (like wood or pellets) in your fireplace. Solid fuels produce a toxic byproduct called creosote, which can clog your chimney and increase the risk of fires.

A certified chimney sweep will use a flashlight to look for damage, obstructions, and creosote buildup, and will let you know if your chimney needs to be swept. Chimney sweeps also carry a dual HEPA filter vacuum, which they will run throughout the entire sweeping process to keep dust levels low in your home. The chimney sweep will either start from the flue and work their way up, or they may start on the roof and work their way down, depending on the type of chimney you have. The goal is to scrape all of the coatings, ash and creosote from your chimney lining so that it falls down into the fireplace and can be removed. The sweep will then clean the fireplace and vacuum up any debris.

If your chimney and/or venting system requires a Level 2 inspection, the chimney sweep will verify that the chimney structure is sound and free of blockages and combustible deposits (including creosote glaze). This level of inspection is recommended after any change in the fireplace or stove; before a sale or transfer of ownership; or following a significant weather event like an earthquake.

Before the chimney sweep comes to your house, it is best to prepare for their visit by moving any furniture a few feet back from the fireplace and covering it with plastic or a drop cloth. You should also make sure the fireplace and chimney are cool, as the sweep will need access to them. You should also make sure you are there when they arrive, as the sweep will need to introduce themselves and explain what they will be doing. This is an excellent time to ask any questions you have about your fireplace and chimney.


As the fireplace and chimney business grew in popularity, many people began to turn away from gas and electricity and returned to traditional wood burning fireplaces for warmth and nostalgia. Unfortunately, those that don’t get their chimneys cleaned and inspected regularly run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires. These fires are caused by dirty chimneys that contain a flammable residue called creosote.

When left unattended, creosote can crack “fireproof” brick, stone and clay chimney flue liners. This allows chimney fires to reach combustible materials in the home such as wood framing and drywall. Chimney fires can cause serious and expensive damage to homes.

A reputable chimney sweep should clean the entire chimney system. This includes the flue liner, chimney cap and masonry. They should also inspect the entire system to look for problems. They should make a report of their findings and recommend professional repairs.

Many chimney repair services are available. These can include repointing chimney mortar, repairing brick or stucco masonry, installing new flue liners and fixing leaking chimney caps. Some companies offer a comprehensive chimney service and can perform all of these services, saving you time and money.

You can save money by performing some of the chimney repair services yourself, but if you’re not experienced or qualified, it’s best to leave this type of work to the professionals. It’s best to hire a reputable and licensed chimney sweep that is a member of the CSIA or NCSG (National Chimney Sweep Guild).

You can find out about a chimney company’s reputation by interviewing them. Ask about their experience, education and licenses. Also ask about their prices and whether or not they use video scanning, which can help you see what is inside your chimney. A reputable chimney service will explain their charges and recommend any additional repairs. It’s also a good idea to ask about their warranty on repairs and cleanings. Many sweeps offer a lifetime warranty on their chimney cleaning and chimney lining services. They may also offer a money back guarantee on their work. This way, you can feel confident that you’re getting the best chimney care.


In addition to cleaning chimneys, sweeps offer a range of maintenance services that can keep your fireplace functioning at its best. Chimney sweeps are trained to detect underlying problems and can make recommendations for necessary repairs. A poorly functioning fireplace and chimney can not only be a fire hazard, but it can also be costly to your home’s structure. A clean and properly maintained chimney will be safe to use for years to come.

A chimney should be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that it remains in good condition. In fact, according to the CSIA, open masonry chimneys should be swept every 12 months, or more frequently if there is a high level of soot buildup or glaze present in the chimney system.

Chimney sweeps remove the flammable creosote coating that accumulates during the burning of wood, fossil fuel, and other materials in a fireplace or wood stove. This is a dangerous, thick coating that can clog the chimney and reduce its efficiency. Chimney sweeps use a special tool called a chimney brush that looks like a giant bottle brush and scrapes the accumulated creosote off of the chimney lining. They will usually put down a drop cloth and a shop vac to decrease the amount of dust in your home and will wear masks and goggles for their own safety. They will typically start their work either at the flue or on the roof and will finish by cleaning the smoke chamber, damper, firebox, and chimney crown.

As an added service, many professional chimney sweeps will provide a report of their findings once the cleaning is complete. This is an important document that should be taken seriously, as it can help prevent future chimney issues from occurring. This document will also help you decide if your chimney is in need of repair, or if you should install a new one.

While chimney sweeping may seem to be an archaic profession, it was once considered an essential job in the 19th century. Children as young as four were used to climb into hot flues to sweep away the soot and ash. In addition to being unsafe and unhealthy, this practice was a major cause of soot lung disease in children. By 1875, there was enough concern that Acts of Parliament were passed to restrict the employment of child chimney sweeps.