The Second Thing Everyone Wants To Know
The second thing everyone want to know how much soot comes into the house when we clean a chimney. Well, in our case, the answer is NONE! We use a high powered industrial vacuum that is way more powerful than the dust. Our vacuum system actually pulls air from the room into the fireplace, so you could say the air is cleaner when we leave than when we arrived!
What’s The First Thing Everyone Wants to Know?
How much it costs. That is addressed on another page. Atlanta chimney sweep cost is about average on this.
What Goes On When We Sweep a Chimney
First, we come into the house and inspect the fireplace chimney. Many times, they just don’t need to be cleaned. Why wouldn’t they need cleaning? Glad you asked. If you’ve just moved into a new home, the former owners might never have had a fire. If you have only had a few fires, there may not be enough soot to mess with. There are various other situations like that.
After we determine that it does need cleaning, we start by laying down a large dropcloth to cover the floor. Then we bring in the tools of the trade. The aforementioned large vac, a tool kit, the brushes, and the poles that screw together to extend the reach of the brush to the very top.
So we turn on the vacuum. Then we determine if it’s practical to remove the damper door. Many fireplace don’t have removable dampers. All fireplace inserts (metal chimneys) have integrated dampers that don’t come out. Many masonry chimneys have dampers that can’t come out either by design, or because they built the smoke chamber so tight around it that it won’t lift out of it’s slot. As long as our vacuum hose can reach over and behind the damper, it’s not usually a big deal if it stays in.
Next thing to sweep a chimney is to start brushing away the creosote (soot) on the sides of the firebox. Then we reach up through the damper and brush the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber is an upside down funnel shaped area that goes from the damper and squeezes down to the size of the flue pipe. It is an important area to get clean on brick chimneys, because chimney fires can start there. It’s usually the hardest part to work on. We have special brushes to reach up into this difficult area. On metal chimneys the damper is where the flue pipe starts.
Up The Pipe
Then we take the flue brush and start screwing on the extension poles. The poles are 3’ to 4’ long and we have enough to reach to the top of virtually any home chimney. Once the brush is up in the chimney, we just do and up and down motion so that we go over each spot about 6 to 10 times. How much scrubbing depends on what type of soot you have. Some soot is powdery and comes right off (Yay!). Some is kind of crunchy and is a little more baked on (myaah). Then there is a third kind called “third degree creosote”. That stuff is very hard and slick, like black plastic. It actually won’t brush off and takes either special power tools or a chemical treatment to remove it. That is more common in wood stoves, or if you burn your fireplace all day long for for days at a time. But it also happens with even light use if your fireplace is not designed properly.
In The Vac
Now we’ve knocked down all the creosote so we scoop and vacuum it all up. We take out the equipment in reverse order, pick up the dropcloth, and Done! That’s the way to sweep a chimney.
Where does dancing on the roof come in when you sweep a chimney?
Ahh, the good old days. Atlanta chimney sweeps rarely have to go on the roof to clean anymore with our modern equipment. If you think about it, the chimney flue pipe is just a long tube. You have to clean from one end to the other and the tube doesn’t care which end you do it from.
When you sweep a chimney, you MUST do part of the cleaning from the bottom anyway, so why not do it all from there and save wear and tear on the house.
Chimneys can be completely cleaned from inside, but not from outside.
If a chimney sweep claims to have cleaned your chimney all from the outside, they are not being honest. You have to do the firebox and smoke chamber from inside….there’s no way around it when you sweep a chimney.