If you grew up watching Mary Poppins, you might hear the words chimney sweep and immediately picture Dick Van Dyke covered in soot, cavorting around the rooftops of London. While this mental picture may be more or less — okay, less — accurate to old time chimney sweeps, it bears very little resemblance to the life of a modern chimney sweep. For starters, you probably won’t see a whole gaggle of us dancing along the roofline and breaking out into song, no matter how catchy the tune of “Chim Chim Cheree” or “Step in Time” are.
Now, it may surprise you that chimney sweeps still exist. But while modern HVAC systems have lessened demand for our services, there is still a very real need for us in today’s world. Many homes still use their fireplaces and chimneys on a regular basis, so we’re not going anywhere. So, what does the life a chimney sweep look like? Well, let us give you a peek behind the curtain.
Modern Chimney Sweep Tools
Some of the modern tools we use are descendents of those used by those who came before us. For instance, we still use round, stiff-bristled brushes, but not quite the same ones you may be thinking of. Our brushes are less likely to be connected to a long, rigid handle. Instead, they’ll be affixed to flexible chimney rods or retractable handles. This gives us far more flexibility than they had in the past. Other tools used by modern sweeps include industrial vacuums, cameras, and other specialty chimney cleaning tools. These modern tools allow us to conduct a chimney cleaning in a clean, quick, and efficient manner.
What Does a Chimney Sweep Do?
Well, we can tell you what our sweeps do. Our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps are specially trained to not only clean your chimney, but to also conduct various levels of chimney inspection. Our most common service — a level one inspection, which should be conducted at least once a year — involves complete soot removal from these areas:
- Smoke Shelf
- Refractory Panels
- Masonry Brick
These services need to be conducted regularly to prevent buildup of creosote, a greasy black residue made up of soot and wood particles. Creosote is highly flammable, and too much of it can lead to dangerous chimney fires. Of course, additional services are included in our level two and level three inspections.
Chimney Sweep Safety
One of the biggest improvements in chimney sweep services over the years has been the safety precautions taken by the sweeps themselves. In the past, many sweeps were injured or killed in falls and the lack of proper safety measures caused a wide range of respiratory issues as well. Today, safety is a much larger concern and our sweeps utilize breathing masks and other safety gear to protect themselves from harm.
As you can see, the life of a chimney sweep isn’t quite like it is for dear old Bert and his friends in Mary Poppins. Nevertheless, while they have a wide range of interests outside of work, our sweeps are dedicated professionals who are committed to providing our customers with the very best in chimney cleaning services. If you would like to engage the services of one of our certified sweeps, Contact First Choice Chimney Today!