A Brief History of the Chimney Sweep

The art of sweeping chimneys began to emerge in the United Kingdom around the year 1200. A Chimney sweep is a person who inspects, cleans, maintains, and repairs chimneys. These chimneys could be attached to fireplaces, wood stoves, or cook stoves. Chimney sweeps were generally hired to clear ash and soot from chimneys for the homeowner. When the occupation began to become popular, the master chimney sweep would “hire” or take on an apprentice. These apprentices were generally as young as four years old. The young lads may be from a workhouse, which was a place similar to a shelter today, or bought from the young boy’s parents and trained. The young boys were chosen because of their small stature. They were trained to climb down into the hot flues to clean them. These flues were sometimes as small as nine inches square therefore, occasionally the boy would get wedged inside and suffocate or even burn to death. The chimney sweep profession has come a long way. Today, chimney sweeps are highly trained and professional. The tools are much more modern and the techniques are much safer and efficient. Gone are the days of actually climbing down the chimney flue to clean, most sweeps are performed from the bottom of the chimney instead.

Today, chimney sweeps are still used as ventilation systems for any fuel burning appliance or device still need to be maintained. The Master Chimney Sweep profession is more contemporary in many ways. Modern day chimney sweeps have a greater knowledge of the systems and dangers. The profession comes with more training in specific areas. In fact, most chimney sweeps are trained in areas such as how to identify and repair hazards that appear within the chimney and fireplace. They are also trained in topics of fundamental maintenance such as the removal of creosote and basic repairs in chimneys and dampers.

Although the chimney brush is still in use, many tools are more up to date. Instead of crawling into the flue as in the beginning of the chimney sweep era back in the 1200’s, today, tools such as vacuums, cameras and other chimney cleaning tools are utilized. Also, most chimney sweeps are performed from the bottom of the chimney instead of from the roof top. This action prevents the spread of dust and debris throughout the home.
The professionals at Appalachian Chimney Services are highly trained in the following areas: Chimney Inspections and Cleaning; Chimney Re-Lining; Rain Caps, Chase Covers and Shrouds; Flashing, Chimney Repair, Crown Repair and Waterproofing; and Stovepipe Replacement and Damper Replacement.
Chimney inspections and maintenances are very vital to the safety of you, your family, and your home and should never be a do-it-yourself task. A professional chimney sweep should always be called for any repairs or cleaning. Regular yearly inspections and residue removal should be performed to prevent costly damage from chimney fires that can quickly engulf your home.

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to begin a regular regime of inspections of your chimney. Call Appalachian Chimney Service for your appointment today- 828.400.8731



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