I've been working in the chimney industry for a few years, and right now is about the time people start thinking about lighting fireplaces for the first time. I'd be happy to answer questions on- or off-topic, especially if you have safety concerns!

Edit ctrl+f serious if you want actual chimney answers.


Edit 2 Post questions in this thread and I'll respond Monday. I've enjoyed chatting with you all!

I am familiar with quite a few names in the industry so if anyone in the US would like a recommendation for a good chimney sweep, PM me and I can probably give you a couple of names. (Fair warning: if you are in my area I'll probably put the company I work for on the list.)


My Proof: Submitted to mods

Comments: 169 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

dlatz8971 karma

How often do you get together with Dick Van Dyke and fellow chimney sweepers for a nice choreographed dance on the chimneys of London?

ChimneyJones50 karma

We did a Harlem Shake video in top hats and tails, but I'm sorry to say that was stateside.

Peepth27 karma

do you wake up everyday thanking God that the Decemberists have written a song about your profession?

ChimneyJones18 karma

Oh and I try not to show it, but it irks me a bit when people say "chimbley", "chimalee", "chiminey" and so forth.

EDIT Just listened to the song and yeah, sometimes we get widows and housewives wanting to fulfill a Dick Van Dyke fantasy.

ChimneyJones11 karma

Not as much as I did when the Undertones wrote a song about my former profession. [serious]

nokru14 karma

Why does my chimney sweep try to upsell me new brick work? I just want the $59 sweep. It only takes them 15 minutes

ChimneyJones25 karma

Why does my chimney sweep try to upsell me new brick work? I just want the $59 sweep. It only takes them 15 minutes

Great question! A couple of factors are/may be at work:

  1. No chimney sweep is making money cleaning chimneys for $59 each. Consider the fact that they had to:
  • advertise to get you to call or email them

  • answer (or pay someone to answer)

  • manage a schedule and the logistics of driving to people's homes

and only then can they spend "15 minutes" at your home.

Two: While that could be said of any chimney sweep, two things you mentioned lead me to believe these are not people you want in your home. Actually, three:

  • I don't know of any certified chimney sweeps that do $59 sweeps. The legitimate figures in the industry basically do sweeps at cost and make a profit when they do repair jobs. Anyone doing sweeps at $59 either figured out some magical, secret ways of avoiding the costs all legitimate businesses have and/or plan to make up their big losses on sweeps somewhere else. Perhaps by persuading you to do repairs you may or may not need at (possibly) inflated pricing. That being said, a lot of chimney companies will offer steep discounts in the Spring and early Summer because they are losing money anyway depending on how many year-round staff they have.

  • It is very unlikely that they completed the annual inspection recommended by the NFPA and every single legitimate professional in the industry. They probably just looked long enough to find something they could sell you on.

  • Finally, if you don't know why they are trying to convince you to have work done, chances are you don't need it. A reputable professional can show you pictures of any affected areas of your fireplace/chimney and explain exactly what is going on.

Edit: [serious]

ChimneyJones8 karma

Great question! A couple of factors are/may be at work: 1. No chimney sweep is making money cleaning chimneys for $59 each.
Consider the fact that they had to:

  • advertise to get you to call or email them

  • answer (or pay someone to answer)

  • manage a schedule and the logistics of driving to people's homes

and only then can they spend "15 minutes" at your home.

JLBate13 karma

My Nan always used to claim that they used pins in the children's feet to make them work faster when they were sent to clean chimneys. Do you still use poor, malnourished Victorian boys to do the work? I'll be sure to tell her.

logically6 karma

Did you know thay cancer was found to be the result of causative agents because chimney sweepers were developing testicular cancer.

ChimneyJones12 karma

Yes, long-term exposure to creosote is an occupational hazard. While homeowners are safe, we need to take special precautions to limit exposure.

Edit: [serious]

kool-ad4 karma

What kind of precautions?

ChimneyJones16 karma

Respirators and minimizing exposed skin while working directly near creosote. We also use vacuums designed specifically for the ultra-fine particles we encounter.

Edit: I see what you're after - It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets cancer.

kool-ad1 karma

How hot does it get in full body suits inside a chimney in the summer?

ChimneyJones4 karma

Well we tend to go minimalist on safety gear in the summer...so just respirator masks, glasses and gloves.

NumberMuncher6 karma

Is there a rule of thumb for how often to get a sweep? I've owned my home for three years and use the fireplace a few times a week in the winter. I've never had it swept. Is there a time bomb in my wall?

ChimneyJones6 karma

Quite possibly. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual inspection and cleaning as necessary.

This is going to depend entirely on the wood you burn and how you burn, but at that level of use, odds are you can get the chimney swept every other year or so and be fine. Talk with your chimney professional about it.

Edit: [serious]

master_blast3r2 karma

i have a masonry furnace. does this also apply? i was under the impression if you properly fire a masonry heater, you do not need to clean it.

ChimneyJones2 karma

Correct, if burning properly, it should have much less buildup than a fireplace, because combustion is much nearer to being complete. The chimney should rarely need cleaning, if ever. Combine a masonry heater with a well-functioning chimney, and you might be right about never having to clean it.

How do you like your masonry heater? I'm partial to these.

cleveruntakenname5 karma

Are you a member of the guild? Or are you a fly by night? Are you certified by CSIA?

ChimneyJones9 karma

By "The Guild" I assume you are assuming I'm in the US, and talking about the NCSG (largest US chimney guild). My company has a membership with NCSG & other guilds and has been around for...between 1-4 decades.

I am certified as are all the sweeps in our company. We hire helpers whom we train alongside an experienced sweep until they are ready to get their own certification and work solo.

cleveruntakenname5 karma

Here in the states there are a lot of people who know nothing, but call themselves chimney sweeps. Do you have this problem in your area?

ChimneyJones6 karma

Yes, it's a problem all over the US. There are no licensing requirements for chimney sweeps in most states, so a lot of dishonest people open up shop as "chimney sweeps" for a few months a year, take advantage of people, make the news, close, then reopen the next year with a different name.

Certified, insured chimney sweeps are the only way to go.

bencordoza4 karma

How much longer do you think your profession can hold out?

ChimneyJones15 karma

It's an old profession that more or less died out in 20th century America until a renewed interest in fireplaces for their aesthetics and charm, and hedging against oil heating price fluctuations brought back the need.

Chimney sweeping as a modern profession fairly new and in some ways is on the upswing. Fireplaces aren't a necessity anymore, but a luxury. For smart chimney businesses, this is a great opportunity.

TL;DR - as long as having a fireplace in your home is an aspiration.

Edit: [serious]

PounderMcNasty4 karma

Have you ever bumped into Santa Claus?

ChimneyJones6 karma

ChimneyJones4 karma

/u/johnthephotographer asked:

Bonus question- What can I do to prolong the cleanliness of my chimney aside from burning woods like pine.

Great question!

  • I would say the #1 thing is using properly-seasoned firewood. Hardwoods, softwoods or a mixture is fine, it just needs to be properly seasoned.
  • Next is having a properly-functioning chimney. If your chimney needs a cleaning, the problem can compound quickly as reduced airflow leads to increased rate of buildup in the chimney.
  • Moisture/leak issues are the mystery cause of many smoking fireplace/chimney problems. Chimneys with moisture problems tend to perform poorly, causing draft problems which then cause increased rate of buildup.
  • Creosote buildup is a result of less-than-perfect efficiency in burning wood. You'll always have some, but you can reduce it by being attentive to your fireplace. Burn small, hot fires, adding pieces of wood as needed, rather than dumping a huge pile in the fireplace and letting it smoulder.

edit [serious]

redfeather11 karma

serious

Looking for a reputable CS in Houston Texas. and about how much should it cost for 2 fireplaces/chimneys?

Thanks for doing the AMA.

redfeather12 karma

Thanks for the info!

ChimneyJones2 karma

You're welcome!

TimeTravel__04 karma

It's my friends wedding today, wish him luck please.

ChimneyJones6 karma

What is his name?

TimeTravel__03 karma

Lets call him Deano

ChimneyJones10 karma

frshmt2 karma

You're awesome!

ChimneyJones3 karma

awww, shucks.

Deanomanc4 karma

Please don't think I'm being rude, But do you feel that the days of Chimney sweeps are numbered? I work in the UK fireplace industry and more and more HETAS engineers are popping up around the country.

ChimneyJones4 karma

Partial answer above:

I don't know too much about chimney sweeping in other countries, but fireplaces in the US are still perceived as an luxury and enjoyable for their ambiance. They already came close to dying out (over the first part of the 20th century) and came back into vogue, and they're on the upswing. I think the industry will continue to consolidate (there was an explosion of chimney sweeps in the 1970s-80s) but stay viable.

I_Misunderstood_That23 karma

(there was an explosion of chimney sweeps in the 1970s-80s)

I'm... I'm so sorry to hear that. Did you lose any friends?

ChimneyJones15 karma

4th post in 2 years? I feel honored.

FrostySack3 karma

I just had a guy come in to clean our chimney and it turned out that there was a chimney fire at some point. He showed me the burnt... residue? maybe, that had been stuck up there. It was super light but came out in softball-sized clumps. Is that something you encounter often?

ChimneyJones4 karma

I wouldn't exactly say "often", but it's not TOO uncommon either. Chimneys are designed to protect the home in the event of a chimney fire, but not two.

Edit: [serious]

ChimneyJones3 karma

Great question! A couple of factors are/may be at work: 1. No chimney sweep is making money cleaning chimneys for $59 each. Consider the fact that they had to: advertise to get you to call or email them answer (or pay someone to answer) manage a schedule and the logistics of driving to people's homes and only then can they spend "15 minutes" at your home.

syren333 karma

I am looking to have my chimney inspected and likely cleaned. We bought the house five yeara ago and haven't used the fire place. What are some things to look for in a sweep and what is the typical price for an inspection and sweep? I am always afraid ill get rioped off but I also don't expect to only pay 59.

ChimneyJones5 karma

Definitely look for certification. It never hurts to look up the company's reputation online. Keep in mind that dissatisfied customers speak up, happy customers rarely do, but it should at least give you some idea of how long they've been around, if they have good warranties, etc.

Most chimney sweeps are pretty disorganized, unless you contact one of the larger companies that has dedicated year-round office staff. Also, with consolidation in the industry, these companies are more likely to still be around in 5 or 10 years, should you have any warranty issues.

For an inspection & cleaning, you'll probably pay somewhere around 150-250 depending on what part of the country you're in. Expect those prices to go up by $100 in 6 weeks.

Edit: [serious]

ruthless753 karma

Have you ever found anything bigger than a dead bird?...

ChimneyJones6 karma

Oh yes. It gets much, much worse than dead birds.

tone_hails3 karma

Can you elaborate please?

ChimneyJones8 karma

(NSFL) This sort of thing is more common than I'd wish. And I'd take a dead bird over a protective momma raccoon or cloud of bats any day.

ruthless753 karma

Nothing human then? I hear it can be quite common..

ruthless751 karma

Ooo, care to elaborate?

Morally_Inept3 karma

Thanks for cleaning our chimneys. I run a wood stove throughout the winter and burn just under two cords of seasoned wood each year. I clean my own chimney once a year. It's a metalbestos chimney that runs through the interior of the house and extends about 6 feet above the roof. Should I clean it more than twice a year?

ChimneyJones6 karma

Points for knowing the importance of properly-seasoned wood!

This is definitely an area where one can do a lot of the work oneself by being handy & learning some of the basics.

I'd recommend having a certified technician out just to make sure everything looks good. Depending on what s/he sees, you might go up to one sweep per cord of wood, or you might be just fine where you're at. I'd guess you probably aren't the type to get an annual inspection, but at the very least I'd recommend having one every 2-3 years. You are burning more than the average person and it's a small cost (~100).

Morally_Inept1 karma

Thanks for the response. I had a guy inspect the chimney when I bought the house 7 years ago. Cleaning it is a breeze. I probably should get it inspected again for safety sake.

Around here (Maine) 2 cords is is not a lot. Most people I know burn 4 to 8 cords and sweep their chimneys several times in a season.

ChimneyJones2 karma

True, it's not above average for your part of the country, but well above the national average on which the annual NFPA recommendation is based.

Mainers kept wood-burning traditions alive and well when most of the US switched to modern fuel appliances, so you may be getting very efficient combustion & your inspector may very well tell you that one sweep per year is adequate. But since you indicated the last inspection was before the chimney would have reflected your burning patterns, I'd recommend an inspection if for no other reason than to assure that all is well.

Zunebug3 karma

One night I came home and 30 small black birds had flown down my chimney into my house. Pest control places thought I was prank calling and hung up on me. Chimney sweep guy came and got the birds out and put a screen on top of my chimney. Thank you for your service!

ChimneyJones3 karma

On behalf of my profession: You're welcome!

Edit: [serious]

thegeneralstrike3 karma

[Serious] - Do you do lots of weddings?

ChimneyJones5 karma

Not lots, but I'd love for that tradition to be revived!

Can I come to yours?

Edit: [serious]

kittyliquors2 karma

I want a chimney sweep at my wedding

http://www.luckysweepleicester.com/history

ChimneyJones2 karma

Standing next to you or in the audience?

diziara2 karma

I know in Germany and other European countries chimney sweeps are considered good luck, and some people will ask them to attend their weddings and the like.

From your other comments, it sounds like you're in the US (or at least north America). Do you encounter people who think you're good luck? Has anyone asked you to attend their wedding because you're a sweep?

ChimneyJones3 karma

THREE people, ONE wedding, 297 MILLION dollars.

I'll be accepting wedding invitations via Reddit.

starfleetofficer2 karma

What is the name of the thing you use to sweep chimneys? I have a tattoo of one and people always ask me what they are called. The tattoo is Mary Poppins on the left arm with an umbrella and Bert on the right with a chimney sweepy thingy.

ChimneyJones5 karma

It's called a chimney brush. But we could call it a hydrocarbon removal brush if you like.

ac3boy2 karma

Any reason to worry about a strictly gas fireplace?

ChimneyJones3 karma

Gas fireplaces don't (typically) need sweeping, but should be inspected annually if a chimney is present.

gjoeyjoe2 karma

What exactly happens to my chimney when I use the fireplace? What kind of chemicals are sticking around that neccessitates a sweep/inspection?

ChimneyJones2 karma

When you light a fire in your fireplace, you're not completely burning all of your firewood's potential energy. What's left over from this not-fully-efficent burning process is called creosote and can build up and ignite later on, damaging your chimney flue liner.

Edit: [serious]

Copywright2 karma

Do you ever get paid in gum?

ChimneyJones3 karma

Nobody ever pays me in gum!

ChimneyJones1 karma

Depends. If you have creosote buildup in your chimney, the "chimney sweeping logs" have often precipitated chimney flue fires. As part of a regular maintenance program, yeah they might be helpful, but if your chimney has enough creosote buildup to warrant cleaning these logs can be hazardous.

the_fett_man2 karma

The people who sweep my chimney always tell me I need a new liner for the cost of $1800. Are they just trying to scam me? How can I tell if I need one?

ChimneyJones5 karma

Why are you hiring a chimney inspector you don't trust?

Get a certified chimney technician out to look at it. If you act quickly you can beat this year's rush and save money on the inspection and repairs if you really do need them. Anyone reputable will be happy to show you the damage that necessitates relining.

How likely is it they are telling the truth? Well I'd check out the company's reputation & make sure they are certified, and ask for photos, but loads of chimneys in the US need to be (re)lined. After your grandparents' parents stopped using a fireplace for heat, people forgot how to take care of fireplaces & chimneys, and few people acquired that knowledge when fireplaces came back into vogue.

TL;DR - Lots of chimneys really do need work, but make sure you're hiring a certified professional with a good reputation.

Edit: [serious]

nmw62 karma

What kind of skills/training do you need? How's the pay?

ChimneyJones3 karma

You need to be certified to have any credibility. The knowledge is easy enough to learn, and the skills required are about what a handyman would do, but more narrowly-focused.

Certification is fairly expensive, but some companies (like mine) will hire you on as a helper then pay for your certification when you're ready.

The starting pay is low, but can grow as you do. Great service, honesty, and solid warranties set us apart from the competition.

Edit: [serious]

aorrd1 karma

This may not be a question for you but hopefully you can answer. My house used to have a real fireplace (and a wood stove). The fireplace was converted to be a gas fireplace using propane. The wood stove was replaced with a propane burning gas stove. Is it possible to convert back, and how difficult would it be?

ChimneyJones2 karma

Yes, people decide to convert back to wood burning all the time. You'd have to have a certified chimney technician perform an inspection, and they'll let you know whether your chimney can handle it & how to go about it. It is often a fairly straightforward process.

Aenar_Targaryen1 karma

Holy shit, you people exist?

ChimneyJones3 karma

What do you mean 'you people'?

donkuss1 karma

Do you see yourself staying with this career? Do you have room to grow/get better/get more clients? How free to sell are you? Do you get told what to do, or do you run your business?

ChimneyJones3 karma

I work for someone else but I have been put in a position to manage/train and work on issues to better the company. There is a lot of potential for growth, since our main obstacle is homeowner education - most fireplace owners don't know what they don't know about their fireplace & chimney. At worst, this leads to home fires (occasionally with fatalities) that are entirely preventable. More often, people just don't use their fireplace because they don't know what to do or can't stand the smoke/smell problems they're having and assume are normal.

donkuss1 karma

Interesting, thanks. I just moved into a house with a chimney and will have to ask the landlord as to when it was last inspected before I fire it up this winter. I'm excited, thank you. How much can I expect to spend for a routine cleaning? I live in a big city.

ChimneyJones3 karma

Answered here - in a large city you may be on the very high side or very low side of that range, depending on what part of the country.

Oakwater1 karma

[deleted]

ChimneyJones4 karma

Partial answer here Sweeping is on an as-needed basis, but an inspection should be performed annually. The whole process will be an hour, give or take. Tipping is not customary, but happens.

Most chimney sweeps like people and the whole experience should be pleasant. Chat with your chimney sweep over a cup of a nice temperature-appropriate beverage when s/he first arrives and if you do have any repair or maintenance items that need attention, s/he'll probably have factored in a discount to your estimate.

Edit: [serious]

I_eat_Trash1 karma

I burn about 2 cords of wood a year, all Lodgepole pine that is cut dead and seasoned for 6 months or so. We have a wood burning fireplace insert with a blower. Any tips on anything? Haven't gotten a sweep yet, but only have lived here one winter season.

ChimneyJones4 karma

  1. Get an inspection this month (last chance before most companies raise their prices for the burning season). You'll almost definitely need a sweep after 2 cords of wood.
  2. Buy a moisture meter and make sure your firewood is between 15-20% moisture content. 6 months may not be quite enough time to get it there, depending on many factors.
  3. If you're not already doing it, bring a week's worth of firewood inside (garage, e.g.) so it doesn't get any last-minute moisture it won't have time to lose before burning.
  4. If you find a good deal on hardwood, try some out. You might like it.

Edit: [serious]

dnteatyellwsnw1 karma

Is a sweeper really as happy as happy can be?

ChimneyJones3 karma

Well, in the fashion the ladder of life has been strung
One could suppose a sweep's on the bottommost rung
Despite a preoccupation with ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke

z6joker91 karma

I need to have my chimney swept, how do I go about finding a certified sweep?

ChimneyJones3 karma

  • A google search for certified chimney sweep or certified chimney technician will automatically show you local results. Chimney companies will usually list their certifications which you can then verify on the certifying body's website.

  • The largest certifier, www.csia.org has a directory on their site.

  • Chimney certifying bodies protect their brands pretty well, so it's unlikely you'll find someone claiming a certification s/he doesn't have.

Edit: [serious]

Sentient__Cloud1 karma

Will you sing for me?

ChimneyJones3 karma

I just sang a refrain of that Mary Poppins song - you know, this one. I know you probably couldn't hear me, but you were the inspiration.

Fantismal1 karma

Are there differences between gas fires and wood fires? My parents' house has a gas fireplace, and I don't think it's ever been swept or inspected in the twenty-one years they've lived there. They don't use it very often, though, maybe just once or twice a year.

ChimneyJones2 karma

Yep, a gas fireplace doesn't cause a buildup of creosote. Chimneys used with gas fireplaces should be inspected annually, but won't generally need to be swept.

[serious]

kittyliquors1 karma

can you tell if someone has been burning refuse?

ChimneyJones3 karma

סּ_סּ

Probably. Why...do you...nvm I don't wanna know.

PieceMonkey1 karma

I have heard that traditional chimney fires are an inefficient way to heat a home, is this true?

ChimneyJones4 karma

Yes, wood burning fireplaces are pretty inefficient, that's why they went out of style. Most people use their fireplaces for ambiance but only rely on it for heat if they have access to free or inexpensive firewood.

There are a few ways to make wood heating more efficient - a wood stove or fireplace insert, for example, but it won't compete with other fuels if you're paying market rates.

Edit until the next oil embargo.

Larvatus_prodeo1 karma

What do you think about wood stove inserts for traditional brick fireplaces? I like the idea of actually using my fireplace to output some heat rather than just look nice, but the quotes I've gotten are really expensive (also, apparently my clay flue tiles also need to be replaced which adds to the cost). Do you recommend them?

ChimneyJones3 karma

Yup, people love them and you'll get more out of your fireplace. The clay tiles usually don't have to be replaced, you just have an additional metal liner from the insert all the way to the top of the chimney.

[serious]

ChimneyJones2 karma

I should add that depending on what part of the country you're in, it can add resale value to your home. It's one of those charming things that people will happily bump the mortgage from 200k to 210k for, for some reason.

gameld1 karma

What's the strangest thing you've found in a chimney (e.g. money, monkeys, whatever)?

ChimneyJones2 karma

Hmm, people are always surprised when living (or dead) things wind up in their chimneys, like so.

But one I thought was the weirdest was making a 20' high chimney your goal for beer can basketball. I can only assume that's what they were doing to get so many beer cans in there.

Johnthephotographer1 karma

When hiring a chimney sweep, what should I be on the lookout for? When we bought our house one inspector said we need to clean it, one said it wasn't really a big deal at the moment.

Bonus question- What can I do to prolong the cleanliness of my chimney aside from burning woods like pine.

ChimneyJones3 karma

When hiring a chimney sweep, what should I be on the lookout for?

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1mdlsq/iama_chimney_sweep_ama/cc897sm

Home inspectors typically know little to nothing about chimneys, so if a home inspector thinks something is wrong, 99% of the time there is. If a home inspector thinks nothing is wrong with the chimney, the good ones still know enough to tell you to have a certified chimney inspector out before you light a fire. (Unless it's the seller's home inspector - there's usually a reason the seller's agent chose this guy.)

Your Bonus question is a great one, let me type up a longer answer here in a bit.

ChimneyJones2 karma

I wanted to move the answer your bonus question up a level for visibility: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1mdlsq/iama_chimney_sweep_ama/cc8g23r

Elwood_Dowd1 karma

[deleted]

ChimneyJones3 karma

Some chimney sweeps are capable spot welders, some are not...probably the majority are not. You could probably get a handyman type to fix that for you, but a chimney professional is usually going to recommend you install a modern chimney damper like this one.

theemotionlessme1 karma

[Serious]

Does that creosote remover powder really work? I'm talking about the stuff that you add to a hot burning fire that is supposed to dry out and help remove creosote buildup in your chimney.

ChimneyJones1 karma

Depends. If you have creosote buildup in your chimney, the "chimney sweeping logs" & the like have often precipitated chimney flue fires. As part of a regular maintenance program, yeah they might be helpful, but if your chimney has enough creosote buildup to warrant cleaning these products can be hazardous.

FreydNot1 karma

In the house I am renting, there is a nice brick fireplace with the chimney boarded up so it can't be used. The gas hot water heater and the gas furnace are both exhausted into the chimney. It looks like someone drilled a big hole in the brick chimney in the garage and stuck the exhaust pipes in.

I'd love to be able to use the fireplace. Is there any chance if using the fireplace? I know you'd really have to see it all to say anything authoritatively, but look into your crystal ball and tell me a story.

ChimneyJones1 karma

As you guessed, you'll definitely have to have a certified chimney technician out to inspect, but it's possible you'd be able to use the chimney by installing a liner.

A working fireplace is often a good selling point so you might be able to talk the owner into it, especially if you value it enough to up the rent by a little bit.

At any rate the chimney should be inspected annually with those appliances venting through it, so if you offer to pick the company, you can make sure they have a good reputation for repairs & comprehensive reports that will help you make your case.

lobster_sauce1 karma

[deleted]

ChimneyJones1 karma

Well my current Spotify playlist is these albums in chronological order, and I'm familiar enough to sing along with many of them.

That said, I'll switch it up to whistle while I work, sing a jaunty tune, and or choreograph or improvise some dapper dance moves in the private setting of a rooftop.

shinjuki1 karma

Do you like what you do?

ChimneyJones1 karma

I do! Do you?

casagordita1 karma

My elderly mother called a chimney sweep who showed up in a slightly-shabby top hat and tails (he changed before he went to work). When he was done, he gave her a kiss on the cheek for luck. She was absolutely tickled. Do you ever do anything like that?

ChimneyJones1 karma

Top-hat service, as it's often called, is typically available by request...but I've never had that request.
As much as I like that the profession has some tradition & charm, in my day-to-day I think it's like working for pretty much any other home service company, and what excites me is making sure my team are the best service professionals of any kind ever to step foot in our customers' homes.

twistedfork1 karma

I'm not sure if you're still answering, but I'm asking anyway.

My dad's friend does solid flue systems in older chimneys and also cleans and repairs chimneys. I'm from a slightly economically depressed area of the country and when he suggest people get new chimneys built to prevent issues they often decline. He has had an occasional client have a housefire OR chimney collapse happen. What do you do in those circumstances?

ChimneyJones1 karma

This is one of the frustrating aspects of the job - when people ignore a clear safety hazard. Our inspection report forms have the technician's signature and the homeowner signs that we've explained their chimney's condition to them. I believe this has been useful to underscore the seriousness of safety issues on numerous occasions.

We also try to stay on top of how insurance claims are handled - this varies from company to company and by area - so that if a homeowner is entitled to assistance from their insurance policy to repair a safety issue, they have all of the information and documentation they need to make the process smooth and speedy.

We don't like doing this and very rarely feel the need, but if a customer is insistent that they will keep using a fireplace we know to be unsafe, videos & statistics on chimney-related house fires are scary. I know I wouldn't want my kids to experience that.

beaverteeth920 karma

How shitty is your accent?

ChimneyJones3 karma

wot m8?

Snoop_Doge0 karma

How does Santa fit through chimneys that are too small for even average weighted people to fit through?