What to Expect

How to Prepare for Our Visit to Your Home.

What To Expect

(When You’re Expecting a Chimney Sweep)

One of the more common questions I am asked, when scheduling new customers, is “what should I do before you get here”? The short answer is usually, not much. I’ve swept thousands of flues and have it down to a pretty good rhythm at this point. But there are a few dos and don’ts that can help make it easier for you and me during my visit. In no particular order…

1) Give me some room to work. I need a work space in front of the fireplace about six feet square at least, and will be bringing equipment in and out of the house. If you have furniture very close to the fireplace, you may want to consider moving it in advance. The same goes for the pathway between the door and the fireplace. On that note, if possible, please allow me to use the door closest to the fireplace. The less I have to move through your house, the better.

2) Stop using the fireplace at least 36-48 hours before I arrive. I know this sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many times I have shown up to see a bed of hot embers in the fireplace or a roaring fire in the wood stove.

3) Tuck the pets away. I love dogs and cats, and I’m more than happy to greet Rex or Fluffy at the door. But while I’m working, it’s best animals are not wandering around. Curious pets can run across my tarp, tracking sooty paw prints all over your home. If you have dogs that are not fond of strangers, it might be a good idea to keep them in another room so my visit doesn’t cause unnecessary stress.

4) Don’t clean out the ashes from the fireplace. I really appreciate how considerate you are trying to be, but dust control is my job not yours. I work very hard keeping all dust, ash, and soot within my work area, and I’m quite good at it. Leave it to me. Exception: If you have 25 years’ worth of ash in there (it’s happened), it would be nice if I didn’t have to haul all of that away. If there is an unusually large amount of ash in your firebox, feel free to get rid of some of it. And on that note…

5) Don’t help. Again, I appreciate the thought. You are more than welcome to watch everything I do; I’m flattered you’re interested in my trade. But please don’t offer to hold lights or get tools for me. It comes back down to dust control; I am the only one who should be getting dirty (so you and your home don’t). The same goes for my ladders. You are not covered by my insurance, so please don’t ask to come up the ladder with me or get on the roof. I will be taking pictures of what I find up there and we’ll review them when I come down.

6) If you are having problems with your fireplace, tell me about them and be specific. A chimney problem is like any other diagnosis, the more information I have, the better I can help you. Are you having water problems? When do you see the water and where? Under what conditions? Every time it rains or only under heavy storms? Has this been a continuous problem or has it gradually become worse? You get the idea. Speaking of which…

7) Ask plenty of questions. Much of the work I do is unseen. Are you curious about it? Please ask me! I am more than happy to talk your ear off about chimney sweeping. I’ve been doing it for a long time and I love talking about it. Please don’t be afraid to ask many, many questions. I will answer every darn one of them. And while we’re on the topic of questions, that brings me to my next point.

8) Please have at least one of the homeowners home during my visit if it is humanly possible. Just as you will have questions, so will I. I know your schedule is busy, but please try to be home if you can. I have a lot of information to give you, and it can get diluted when filtered through a third party like your parent, babysitter, or friend who came over to let me in. I follow up all my inspections with an email report, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation with the homeowner.

9) Be ready for some noise. I have a vacuum running almost the entire time I am working, and it can get loud. Please be aware of this if you have small children who are napping, have guests over, or are on the phone.

10) Above all else, don’t panic! I am there to take care of everything for your chimney. I have worked around messy homes and barking dogs, during dinner parties and family reunions, in empty houses ready for sale and floor to ceiling boxes after a recent move-in. There is almost no scenario you can throw at me that will stop me from doing my job.

I hope you found this informative. I want you to have the best experience possible with me, and I think the suggestions above will help. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about a sweep, contact me and I’ll get right back to you.