Posts Tagged ‘chimney’

Don’t Neglect Your Chimney!

October 7th, 2012

As you snuggle in front of a cozy fireplace or bask in the warmth of your wood stove

 you are taking part in a ritual of comfort and enjoyment handed down through the centuries. The last thing you are likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney. However, if you don’t give some thought to it before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment may be very short-lived. Why? Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people.

Chimney fires can burn explosively

noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or passersby. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying air plane. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about. Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have enough fuel to be as dramatic or visible. But, the temperatures they reach are very high and can cause as much damage to the chimney structure – and nearby combustible parts of the house – as their more spectacular cousins. With proper chimney system care, chimney fires are entirely preventable

Call your local Chimney Sweep Today!

Why is the top of my chimney rusting?

September 2nd, 2012


Pre-fabricated fireplaces have a flat metal covering (chase cover or chase top) to prevent water from entering the interior of the chimney structure.

The chase top is usually made of galvanized sheet metal with a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. Over time, the metal coating wears off from exposure to sun, rain, snow, ice and other environmental factors. Most tops also develop a low spot around the flue pipe that holds water as well. With time, the metal starts to rust and when water runs off the top during a rain it carries the rust down the side of your chimney causing unsightly staining of the siding. The rust stains on the outside of the chimney are the first clue that there is a problem. Left untreated, eventually the corrosion will eat through the metal allowing water to seep through. You may hear water dripping on the inside of the chase after it rains. This is an indication that the rust has pitted the metal allowing water into the chimney where it can cause damage to the interior components of the chimney.

The time to act is when you first notice rust stains not after you hear water dripping.

To correct the problem, the existing chase cover can either be resurfaced and resealed or replaced with a new stainless steel chase cover that will last a lifetime.

Heads Up! You never know what you’ll find on a chimney.

August 12th, 2012

I found myself eye to eye with this little guy!


A customer called me today and said the cap I had installed last year must not be doing its job. “Something has died in my chimney”.

When I stopped by to check on her, everything looked ok from the ground, the cap was still up there. But boy when you came into the house it sure smelt like a dead animal to me and the closer you got to the fireplace the worst it got.

There was nothing in the fireplace, up the flue or behind the damper. This was crazy. Where was that smell coming from?

I put my ladder up and when I climbed to the top of the chimney, this little guy was staring at me, well what was left of him that is.



Hawks and owls typically prey upon ground dwelling mammals such as mice, vole, rats, squirrels and rabbits.

Apparently this Hawk dined and dashed.

Why the Top Hat and Tails?

April 16th, 2012

The History Behind the Hat

Top-hatDo you know why the traditional sweep is adorned in a fine beaver top hat? The answer might surprise you. How about why chimney sweeps make good wedding guests? No?

Widely considered one of the oldest professions in the world, the chimney sweep has been a necessity since the urbanization of modern cities precluded by the Industrial Revolution. As urban areas became more densely populated and spaces began filling in with homes, chimneys multiplied like wildfire. The increase in population and chimney use lead to a boom in chimney sweeps. This sudden ubiquity of chimney sweeps and their sustained presence has led to quite a few urban legends attaching themselves to the profession.

The Tails and Top Hat

One of the more iconic features of the chimney sweep is the traditional top hat and tails, still worn by many sweeps in the field today. Although there are no concrete sources of evidence on the origination of the top and tails look, popular wisdom says they originated from the hands of funeral directors in the 17th and 18th centuries onwards.

At the time, chimney sizes had been newly regulated to a very narrow set of dimensions following the Great Fire in London in 1666. This led to the practice of sweeps ‘employing’ boys to climb the narrow chimneys and sweep them; in fact, legend has it that the phrase ‘to light a fire underneath you’ comes from the practice of sweeps lighting small fires underneath reluctant boys to ensure the only way they were getting out was through the top of the chimney.

This, of course, was a deplorable practice and was very dangerous and unhealthy for the young boys. Sweeps apprentices were at risk for cancers, fatal falls, and permanent bodily injury from inhalation of soot. Worse still, they were routinely robbed by their ‘masters’ and left with little more than the soot sacks they carried for warmth. Funeral directors are said to have taken pity on the young boys and have given them the top hats and coattails of the deceased.

The top hat and coats were said to have given sweeps a measure of pride in their work, and soon caught on as the de facto uniform of chimney sweeps, which has stuck right into the present day.

Now, being well-dressed doesn’t necessarily make you a shoo-in for any wedding invitation – so why is it that inviting chimney sweeps is a popular wedding tradition? More in this story latter!

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