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what does a chimney sweep do? [full guide]

Chimney sweeps are a crucial part of upkeeping and owning a fireplace. Whether you just bought a house with one or had one just sitting. It is essential to know what does a chimney sweep do & what are the proper instructions for adequately caring for your chimney and fireplace.

It can be a matter of life or death!

What does a chimney sweep do? Most chimney sweep companies offer three levels of sweeping. Which level your chimney will require depends on the level of soot and creosote build-up that has occurred, the amount of time since the last cleaning, and how regularly the fireplace was used.

Continue reading to learn the importance of chimney sweeps, how to know if your chimney needs swept, and more about the three different levels of inspections and sweeps.


What Is the Importance of Chimney Sweeps?

A chimney does much more than vent smoke from the fireplace outside, and it protects you from the harsh chemicals and gases created by fire.

Chimneys suffer wear and tear over time and need repairing for the foundational aspect of your property. Aside from maintenance, chimneys can also accumulate toxic chemicals that can build up over time.

These chemicals can catch on fire and burn your entire house down if not properly watched.


How To Know If Your Chimney Needs Swept

If you are unsure when your chimney was inspected or swept, it’s best to schedule an appointment immediately to be safe. There are a few things you can inspect for that will hint if it was cleaned recently.

  • Fireplace surroundings are turning black.
  • Deposits of black particles within the chimney.
  • You can hear animals within the chimney.
  • There is soot dropping down the fireplace.
  • Your fires are not burning well or producing a ton of smoke into the home.


Level One Inspection and Sweep

Level one is the most basic, essential inspection and sweep available. It involves; visual inspection of the inside chimney and flue with a torch. They will be looking for obstructions like animals or soot.

Your chimney is only inspected from the bottom and not the roof in a level one inspection. Many companies are now using cameras to inspect ducts easier. After their review, they will decide if the chimney needs sweeping.

One specialist completes this sweeping with; sweeping brushes, extended poles, and a vacuum.


Level Two Inspection and Sweep

Level two inspections are completed after new installations or when structural alterations have been made. This level is also recommended if you just bought a house and are unaware of usage and cleaning history.

In a level two inspection, all the same steps as level one will be done. Specialists will also visit the roof in a level two inspection and the attic and crawlspace to inspect all parts of the chimney and flue.

Smoke leakage tests, complete pressure tests, and exterior inspection tests are all completed.

Usually, level two inspections have two specialists working together. You may also receive a written report with any recommended repairs and quotes for their pricing.


Level Three Inspection and Sweep

Level three chimney sweep and inspections are severe and include demolishing all parts of a chimney. Usually, level three inspections and sweeps are only needed after intense chimney fires.

Another reason there may be level three inspection is necessary if the chimney is very hard to access or inspect. Level three involves removing large pieces to clean and repair and returning them to their original places. Level three usually can take up to or more than three hours.

So, what do they do during a chimney sweep? There are three primary levels of severity for chimney sweeps that include different things, levels one, two, and three. All three levels include basic bottom-level visual chimney inspection.

For the level one inspection, one specialist will decide if it needs to be swept or not. For level two, two specialists inspect all parts of the chimney and flue. They will also perform various tests on leakage, pressure, and exterior.

Level three inspection is the most severe and prolonged type of chimney inspection. This level only occurs if the chimney and fireplace have undergone massive damage due to fire or structural alterations. This level can take longer than three hours to complete. Chimney sweeps are an essential and crucial service to get done at least once a year!

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