Chimney Sweeps Are Plunging Into Their Work Again

With more of us using fireplaces and modern high-efficiency wood stoves, the ancient profession is getting a new lease on soot

Modern chimney sweep
Wikimedia Commons

Fireplaces from floor to fluetop are "far from the passive black holes most people assume them to be," states a report published by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Chimneys need care and attention and can be dangerous if they don't get it. Neal Singer, an ex-sweep himself, makes house calls with Kentucky sweep Jeff Gitlin, explains what is happening in your chimney causing soot to collect, analyzes the dangers of chimney fires, introduces SNEWS (The Chimney Sweep News), outlines the history of sweeps (including climbing boys) and their equipment and relates some coaxing-out-raccoons tales.

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