Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

The Camera Sees Where You Cannot

Technology is allowing chimney sweeps to do what they used to do in days gone by: get inside your chimney. Modern sweeps better understand the intricacies of chimney construction and operation and are able to more clearly view inside. Highly specialized cameras and properly trained eyes are coming together to make chimney inspections more valuable than ever.

Camera Lens - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

Using Images to Locate Problems

Responding to the requirement that Level 2 inspections include assessment of the “accessible” flue, video scanning or other camera-aided viewing makes this easy. After all, remove the chimney cap and the flue is quickly visible. However, the scope of inspection needs to see beyond the top of the flue. Being able to snake down a camera allows for a thorough examination and ensures the safety of the sweep.

We cannot stress enough that camera inspection needs to be performed by a certified chimney sweep. The potential for damage to your flue is significant and sweeps have to be properly trained and equipped for this task.

When a Level 2 inspection is required, however, camera assistance is invaluable in ascertaining the true condition of the chimney’s interior. Closed-circuit video scans are becoming increasingly popular because of the certainty they bring to assessment of the flue’s condition. Additionally, still shots are extremely useful in supporting insurance claims and inspection reports.

Seeing the Condition As It Is

Being able to view the entire flue is necessary to make sound judgments about your chimney’s condition. With the wonders of Photoshop, an unscrupulous sweep could enhance the images to fit their agenda. Choosing an ethical chimney sweep is critical. Find a certified sweep who will use the camera to get the information needed to make the best decision for your chimney upkeep. Keeping checking for more chimney information.

By Jim Robinson on June 22nd, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The History of Chimney Sweeps

We tend to forget that the history of chimney sweeps is fairly short, extending back only to the middle of the seventeenth century. Unlike “short histories” in travel brochures for London that pre-date Christ, a presentation of one is in fact possible for its chimney sweeps. Apprenticed to master sweeps after the city’s Great Fire in 1666, young boys in London were the world’s first professional sweeps for modern chimneys.

Chimney Sweep History - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

From Smoke Vents to Modern Chimneys

Master sweeps have probably been around for another five centuries, even if only cleaning the chimneys of the very rich. Chimneys appeared early in the 13th Century, but they were big enough for anyone to get into. Better than unvented open fires at the centers of houses, they were still essentially vents for smoke. Only the wealthy would have called in chimney sweeps to routinely tackle the creosote buildup on the inside of the chimney.

All of that changed with London’s Great Fire, because suddenly chimneys were required to be so small that only small boys could climb into them. Then fairly commonplace in middle class homes, chimneys were now required to create an updraft in order to lessen creosote accumulation. That meant much smaller chimneys than before; combined with urban density, their increasing popularity additionally meant joining chimney components at sharp angles.

Not a Good Fit

Those two things combined to make it impossible for master sweeps to do the jobs at which they claimed to excel. Orphans and street kids were abundant, and they had the small bodies and poor circumstances that made them perfect targets for apprenticeship. In no position to make demands about safety, wages, or working conditions, these young boys were the Olivers of chimney sweeping.

Completely unprotected and largely unnoticed until 1778, child chimney sweeps daily took on the difficult and dangerous job of these professionals. It took another century to get children out of chimneys and begin to license professional chimney sweeps. Romanticized in film and literature, the job that professional chimney sweeps do has been dangerous throughout its “short” history.

By Jim Robinson on March 22nd, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Fire Facts

We always hear about the romantic features of a chimney as well as the heating benefits when buying a home. What the real estate agents or existing homeowners do not tell you is about the dangers of fires. Now, this is not to scare you away from buying a home with a chimney or in having one installed; you just need to be aware of these dangers and how to prevent a fire from happening out of sheer ignorance.

The facts about chimney fires

Creosote buildup is one of the leading causes of chimney fires. Wood burning fireplaces can generate significant creosote buildup within the lining of the chimney. It only takes one eighth of an inch to be considered dangerous. This is a highly combustible material, and it is one of the main reasons we recommend an annual chimney inspection and cleaning.

When purchasing a home, there are several signs for which you can look to see if there was previously a chimney fire. You, or a professional, should look for these signs prior to purchase, as they could result in costly repairs in order to operate the fireplace safely again.

  1. Honey-combed creosote buildup
  2. Cracked flue tiles or tiles that have large chunks missing
  3. A discolored chimney cap
  4. If the TV antenna or satellite dish is located close to the chimney, check for discoloration
  5. Creosote flakes found inside of fireplace or in surrounding area outside of home (they may have been discharged from the chimney and carried by the wind)
  6. Warped metal damper
  7. Discolored or cracked masonry work on exterior of chimney

If you see any of these signs, call a certified chimney sweep immediately to have the chimney professionally inspected. There are multiple levels of inspections related to potential problems. In this case, you may have the upper tier of inspections to outline and problems as well as a plan of action to have the chimney repaired.

By Jim Robinson on November 17th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment