Our repeat customers know the importance of keeping their chimneys clean and obstruction-free! When scheduling your annual HVAC maintenance, call Chimney Champions to schedule your chimney cleaning with one of our certified chimney sweeps. Schedule service now or call (904) 268-7200 to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members.

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Safety Institute Recommendations

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home. Factory-built fireplaces should be swept when any appreciable buildup occurs. The logic is that the deposit is quite acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace.

As part of your annual inspection service with Chimney Champions we perform a full sweep of the fireplace and venting system!

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At Chimney Champions our focus is your safety. Having the proper inspections performed on your chimney and venting systems is essential! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211 says, Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Supplemental to our inspection services we make sure that with every sweep performed we include an inspection.

Understanding The Risk of Chimney Fires

Regular Sweeping Helps Prevent Chimney Fires in Jacksonville

There’s nothing better than enjoying the cozy ambiance and radiating warmth of a roaring fire in your fireplace on a cool night. But before you fire up for the season, make sure that your chimney is clean and ready. A dirty chimney is fertile fuel for a fire, and you may not even realize what is happening.

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Two Types of Chimney Fires

You see, there are two types of chimney fires:

Detected FiresThese fires are scary and can be explosive. They are often accompanied by loud cracking and popping, heavy smoke, and an intense, hot smell. Flames will shoot from the top of the chimney, and the fire can sound like a freight train or low-flying airplane.

Undetected FiresThese are slow-burning fires that don’t get enough air or fuel to be dramatic or even visible. But don’t let that fool you. They can burn hot enough to cause as much damage to the chimney and other parts of your house as detected fires. That makes them just as dangerous, if not more.

Scheduling regular chimney inspections can definitely lessen the chance that you’ll have a chimney fire, and will also allow a certified chimney sweep to determine if you’ve had a previous fire in the system. An inspector from Chimney Champions will be able to assess any damage, and make repairs if needed.

Did I Have a Chimney Fire?

To know if you’ve had a chimney fire and to prevent future fires, we recommend a full inspection and cleaning. Here are some common signs that indicate a fire likely occurred:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Discolored or distorted rain cap
  • Creosote flakes found on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  • Cracks in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
Chimney Sweeps Prevent Fires in Jacksonville

The History Of The Chimney Sweep: An Overview

Have you ever wondered how chimney sweeping began? Let us discuss the history of the chimney sweep in both the UK and the US, and how the modern profession of chimney sweep came into existence. Let’s get started!

1700s – Industrialization And The Creation Of The Chimney Sweep

In the 1600s, chimneys were typically wide, and buildings were not very high, or grouped together very closely. Because of this, they were easy to clean, even by non-professionals. However, after the Great London Fire and industrialization, chimneys became much narrower and more difficult to clean.14 inches by 9 inches became one of the most common standards.

This had the unfortunate side effect of making it difficult – if not impossible – for an adult man to clean the chimney. So, boys as young as the age of four years apprenticed with adult chimney sweeps. These young boys had to climb up the chimneys and flues, cleaning them with hand tools. As you can imagine, this was extremely dangerous and poorly-paying work.

By the late 1700s, legislation had been introduced to help improve working conditions for these children. By 1834, it was illegal for a boy of under 14 to work as a chimney sweep or apprentice.

1800s – More Advanced Cleaning Tools Replace Child Labor

Inventor George Smart invented the first mechanical sweeper – an adjustable brush that could replace child labor – in 1803. Its implementation was resisted by chimney sweeps in the UK. However, in the US, Joseph Glass, an inventor, created a new, modern brush very similar to today’s chimney sweep brushes. This new invention mostly eliminated the need for children to work as chimney sweeps.

By the late 1870s, regulations against child sweeps had taken hold in both the United States and in the United Kingdom, and the profession ceased to exist, replaced by adult sweeps who used specialized brushes.

Chimney Sweep History

Early-To-Mid 1900s – Chimney Sweeps Enter The Mainstream

Chimney sweeps began to enter popular culture around the turn of the century. Perhaps the most famous representation of chimney sweeps in popular culture was in Mary Poppins. Dick van Dyke portrayed Bert, a chimney sweep and performer who was one of the central characters of the story.

However, modern central heating systems using ducting and radiators also became more popular around the early 20th century, and fireplaces were no longer the primary method of providing heat in most buildings.

Modern Day – Chimney Sweeps Adapt To Changing Times

Today, chimney sweeps do much more than just clean chimneys. Other venting systems for furnaces, coal-burning furnaces, and furnaces that use heating oil and wood pellets require regular inspections and cleaning. Modern chimney sweeps specialize in creosote removal, minor chimney repairs, and other diagnostic and repair services.

Chimney Sweeps Are Still Just As Important Today As They Were Centuries Ago

The profession may have changed over time – but its importance has not! Just like the very first chimney sweeps, hiring a professional chimney sweep in Jacksonville is still critical for ensuring that your chimney system is in good shape, free of debris, and safe to use.

Rest assured, you can trust the expert chimney sweeps at Chimney Champions. We serve Jacksonville and the surrounding areas of Florida including St. Augustine, Orange Park, Middleburg, and beyond. Request service now or call (904) 268-7200 and speak with one of our knowledgeable team members.