You’re a what?
on’t know your damper from your dirty hands. And we leave no dirt behind.”
ﬂ ue? Chimney sweep Dawn McDer - Placing tarps over ﬂ ooring and, if necessary,
mott will be happy to explain the moving furniture out of the way helps mini-
difference. She can also inspect a ﬁ replace’s mize the mess.
working parts, clean your chimney, and pro- After the tarps are down, chimney sweeps
vide other repairs and maintenance related to bring in their equipment: rods, wire brushes,
chimney upkeep. attachments of various lengths and sizes, a
With 26 years in the chimney-sweep high-powered vacuum, and special lighting.
business, Dawn knows chimneys inside and Sweeps also wear protective gear, including
out. She’s happy to clarify for customers who goggles and a respirator, to prevent soot from
might confuse the duct that vents gases to the getting into their eyes and lungs.
outside (the ﬂ ue) with the adjustable plate that The cleaning equipment is designed to
regulates airﬂ ow (the damper). “They may not give sweeps access along walls, into corners,
know the terminology,” she says, “but I still onto ledges, or into other hard-to-reach areas
have to explain what they need to know.” inside chimneys. With the help of bright lights,
Dawn considers customer education part chimney sweeps use their brushes and vacuum
Kathleen of her job. Increased understanding encourages attachments to scrape and suction soot from
chimney safety, which in turn helps to prevent
Green ﬁ res and other hazards associated with ﬁ replac -
inside the ﬂ ue. Ideally, cleaning is done regu -
larly enough that a worker can easily sweep the
es, woodstoves, and heating systems.
chimney—hence the occupation’s title—before
For example, chimney ﬁ res often occur
the soot becomes glossy and combustible.
when residue from wood-burning smoke accu-
But when creosote hardens, it bonds like
mulates inside the ﬂ ue. Buildup of this smoke
glue to surfaces and can’t be scraped off; in
residue, called creosote, can become so thick
fact, attempting to chip away the solid buildu