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How A Chimney Sweep "Sweeps"

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A chimney sweep like A & A Chimney Sweep has the dirty job of removing creosote buildup from your chimney. Yet, you might be wondering just how a chimney sweep "sweeps." If you have seen Marry Poppins​, you might recall the scenes where Dick Van Dyke's character, a chimney sweep, is trying to clean the chimney of the wealthy family that has engaged Mary Poppins as a governess. This scene only gives you a slight idea of how a chimney sweep does his/her job. Here is the rest of it.

Closing Off and Covering the Furniture and Floors in the Room

Yes, the sweep still has to make sure that nothing he/she sweeps from your chimney falls to the hearth and covers the floors and furniture close to the fireplace. Cloth tarps are placed over the floors and furniture to protect them from the mess of the job. Then the sweep climbs to the roof for the next part of the job.

​Wire Bristled Broom and Handle Extensions

The chimney sweep's main "broom" is a long pole that can be extended to reach down into the chimney from the roof. On the end of this pole are several very stiff, very sharp-ended wires. These wires will scrape the insides of the chimney walls when the "broom" is inserted into the chimney from above. It takes several minutes (e.g., thirty minutes to an hour and a half) to thoroughly scrape the interior walls of the chimney clean, with the sweep pulling the "broom" up and down inside the chimney. The thicker the lining of creosote on the walls of the chimney, the longer it takes for the sweep to complete the job.

​Going at It from Inside the House

At the tail end of the job, the sweep will come back into the house to "sweep" the chimney from the fireplace end. Even with all of the pole extensions, there is no way that the "broom" can reach all the way down to the fireplace from the roof and still do a good job. Ergo, the chimney sweep will finish the job by sending the broom upward into the chimney from the fireplace and scrape the lower walls of the chimney free of creosote. 

​The Clean-up 

Finally, the chimney sweep uses an actual broom and dust pan to collect the creosote scrapings into a pile and into a bag for disposal. The cloth tarps are taken off your furniture and floors and rolled up to be washed. Any black ash and creosote on the roof may be power-washed off or left for a rainstorm to clear.


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