Chimney Cleaning or Chimney Sweep?

February 6, 2013 Blog Micah

In the chimney industry there are a great deal of technical terms and nomenclature used by professionals and homeowners alike to describe different aspects of a chimneys structure, as well as methods used to repair and maintain those structures. As in any other business, the use of misguided or inappropriate labels often leads to ambiguity in regards to the identity of that particular aspect or what a certain process entails. No other term is more misguided or leads to more misunderstanding in the chimney industry than “chimney cleaning.”

Although there are some aesthetic benefits as a result of a “chimney cleaning” such as the removal of creosote and ash accumulation from the interior of the firebox and reduced fireplace odor, a “chimney cleaning” will never make your chimney shiny or 100% “clean.”

A more appropriate label for the process of removal of creosote accumulation from the interior of a chimney is a ” chimney sweep.” The primary goal of a professional chimney sweep is in regards to safety and function by removing as much of the interior creosote accumulation as possible by manual methods. There are no chemical cleaners used during a typical chimney sweep, nor are glass doors polished etc. Although we do sweep every interior area of your chimney, including the interior of your firebox with brushes manually, the black marks or staining you see there is not ever going to be removed without the use of special hearth cleaners, which is also not part of a professional “chimney cleaning.”

You would be surprised how many homeowners have been mislead by the term “chimney cleaning,” causing a need for education to align expectations. Although we do carry a line of chemical and citrus projects designed specifically to help eliminate staining on fireboxes and glass doors, a “chimney cleaning” does not include the use of those products or methods. Again, the focus of a professional chimney sweep is on safety and function. By removing the accumulation of creosote from the interior of a chimney during a sweep , you greatly reduce the risk of a chimney fire, as creosote is highly flammable. Draft and performance of the system are also greatly improved.

Hearthside Chimney & Masonry, serving the greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and South East Indiana areas, also includes a 21 point Level 1 inspection with every chimney sweep, which is another crucial aspect of safety in regards to maintaining your fireplace. The manual method of “sweeping” a chimney is an industry standard and only varies between professional companies in regards to what brand/type of rods and brushes are used. This is why a “chimney sweep” is a much more appropriate title for this process as opposed to “chimney cleaning.”

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