Being that we moved to this rural community far from everything it took a while to find someone in our area to recommend a chimney sweep. The young man we located lives only 30 miles away, is a fire fighter that does chimney cleaning and inspections on the side. He was extremely reasonably priced and explained he’s not out to make a lot of money from it, just to keep people safe. I think that is very admirable.
He checked the chimneys inside first and noted there was about a 1/4” creosote build up which is not all that bad. The creosote is the black build up you see on the back of the chimney. When ours was touched it easily flaked off and fell to the floor. We had already decided to go through with a cleaning so he got started right away laying down tarps to cover everything. Next he set up a super duper vacuum that sucked all the dust and debris right out of the chimney as he cleaned. There was nothing I could see that escaped onto the drop cloths. I could use that kind of cleaner for the carpets!Boy Grand and I sat in the yard and watched as he climbed his ladder and inspected the chimneys from the outside before removing the caps and hopping on top to sweep. He screwed some flexible extension rods onto a wire brush and started working it up and down through the chimney about a dozen times. After he put the cap back on he moved inside and did the same thing from the bottom up. After that he simply rolled up the drop cloths, vacuumed the room and wiped down the entire fireplace. He even took the brass racks outside and polished them up!
The whole process for both chimneys took about two hours. We feel very confident about building fires in them in the very near future. We are considering gas logs for one of them just to make a convenient and quick heat source available. I'll keep you updated on that decision as it happens. Now, bring on the cold weather!