The first chimneys in Britain appeared around 1200 BCE. Fireplaces took the place of the open fire that burned in the middle of a one-room house. Over the next 400 centuries, rooms became smaller and each needed its own chimney. Coal replaced wood, and creosote built up inside the chimneys. The first chimney sweep to offer cleaning services was called a master sweep, and he used children as young as six to climb up through the narrow chimney to brush off the creosote. Children were even sold by their parents to work for the master sweep. The children were fed and cleaned weekly, or sometimes only three times a year, depending on the master.
Today’s chimney sweeps are all highly-trained adults. They use special tools and chemicals to clean creosote out of the chimney. Most of the inspection and cleaning can be done from the stove or fireplace, but sometimes they need to work from the roof. All appliances in your home use a chimney and need to be kept clean to keep harmful gasses out of your house. Part of every annual home maintenance should include an inspection by a chimney sweep.
How a Chimney Works
Wood fuel is burned in a wood stove or fireplace, which are designed to burn the wood in a firebox. While you enjoy the heat, the smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals float up the chimney through the flue. The fire should be started slowly to begin warming the flue to prevent condensation. The condensation can cause creosote to stick to the insides of the chimney flue.
Creosote can be crusty, flaky, tar-like, sticky, or shiny and hardened. Creosote is highly combustible, and if the internal flue temperature gets hot enough, it could result in a chimney fire. Some conditions that cause the buildup of creosote are a restricted air supply, unseasoned wood, and cooler than normal chimney temperatures. Keep the glass doors open at all times when a fire is burning in a fireplace. The damper should be fully opened. There needs to be enough make-up air in the room to quickly move the smoke up the chimney and outside. Using too much wood in a firebox to provide a longer burn time can also build up creosote.
The Job of a Chimney Sweep
A Marietta chimney sweep is a highly trained professional technician who is detail-oriented and can complete your cleaning job quickly. An inspection includes checking the chimney and looking for cracks or other signs of a chimney fire. The tools used by a chimney sweep are brushes, a vacuum, and possibly chemicals. The firebox will be cleaned of ashes, the flue will be brushed out, the smoke chamber will be cleaned, any possible fire hazards will be reported, and, to complete the process, you’ll receive a full report. A chimney sweep will do what it takes to keep your chimney in a proper and safe working order.