chimney sweep

What Does a Chimney Sweep Do?

Chimney sweeping is one of the oldest professions here in Massachusetts. It was once one of the most difficult and hazardous jobs, although modern technologies have made the process much more efficient and safer—but no less dirty.

In fact, chimney sweeping was featured on the show Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel, giving you a glimpse behind the curtain in the life of a chimney sweep. But for many homeowners, chimney sweeping is a bit of a mystery profession.

So, what does a chimney sweep do, anyway?

Well, They Sweep Chimneys

The short and easy answer to what does a chimney sweep do is, sweep chimneys. They clean chimneys, smoke ducts, and flue pipes. Keeping the chimney and these components clean is critical for the health of your home as well as your family.

Fire Prevention

Chimney fires are the primary cause of concern with a dirty chimney. There are 25,000 chimney fires in the US costing homeowners over $125 million in property damage.

Keeping the chimney clean is one of the best ways to prevent chimney fires. Chimney fires occur for several reasons, including:

  • Creosote buildup. This is the buildup of particles that did not burn during a fire. As the temperatures in the chimney lower, the particles attach to the chimney walls. If this isn’t cleaned it can result in chimney fires.
  • Un-insulated flue liner: Using an insulated flue liner can help ensure that temperatures in the flue do not get too cool.
  • Burning unseasoned wood: Wood should be dried for at least 6 months before burning.

Chimney fires are preventable, and this is one of the major jobs that a chimney sweep will do for you.


Safely getting flue gasses and smoke up and out of the home is an important responsibility of a chimney sweep.  Without proper venting, by-products of combustion can seep through openings in the flue and into your living areas.

Whether it’s an existing oil or gas heating appliance, lone water heater, fireplace or wood stove, these all require special venting to ensure burning efficiency and safety.

Do You Need the Help of a Chimney Sweep?

Although this isn’t an inclusive list of what chimney sweeps do, it gives you a good idea of the range of services and tasks we tackle from day to day. If you’re ready for your annual chimney inspection, contact Boston’s Best Chimney at 781-893-6611.