|| For centuries the fireplace has been the central part of the home.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine what it must have been like just
a hundred years ago here in the United States. There was no tv, computers,
natural gas piped into the house, electricity, inside plumbing, or a
central heating source!!! But, we did have the fireplace.
Besides giving warmth, the fireplace was the kitchen stove. At the end of the day
the family gathered round the fireplace to have the evening meal, talk about the
days events and make future plans (chores to be done), and making sure their
warming stone was getting hot. The warming stone was plucked from the fire
(hence the fireplace tongs), wrapped in a heavy burlap bag and placed in the bed
to radiate warmth thru the night.
The fireplace is a "comfort zone", President Roosevelt realized this when he initiated his
"FIRESIDE CHATS" speaking to the public over the radio during the 1930's and 40's.
FDR asked his listeners to have a fire in the fireplace, settle back in their
easy chair and take comfort in hearing how the government was working hard to
make everyone's lives better. He told about programs designed to help the country to recover
from the depression and gain a sense of unity. He challenged Americans to find
a better way, thus sparking the "technology age". How far we have come
in such a short time!
With the technology came easier and cheaper ways to heat the house. The fireplace is no longer the
main source of heat for most of us. As a result, most of what was common knowledge
of wood heat was lost, and not passed down from father to son. We still hear references to
the "wood shed" (disciplinary reasons), and "spring house cleaning". People knew
the importance of having good, dry seasoned wood stored in the wood shed to keep
it dry for the winter. Then come Spring and a general house cleaning. The furniture, carpets
and what have you was taken outside the house for protection and cleaned. At the same time the chimney was
cleaned. What a mess to clean up all that soot inside the house and repaint, then bring
everything back in again. Whew!!
Not to worry, technology also came to the aid of the fireplace. We professional chimney sweeps
have a vacuum system that contains all the soot from your chimney, trapping the soot,
preventing it from escaping into the house. The vacuum does not and cannot clean the chimney.
The ONLY way to clean the fireplace is by a mechanical brushing. There are
no magical powders or sweeping logs that will clean the chimney!!! Do not be fooled
by a false sense of security thinking they do "something". Your sweep may however suggest
a product or agent to help him in the aid of getting your chimney back to a brushable state.
There are a few products that do actually work, in attacking the creosote, but are only
a prelude to a mechanical brushing. I feel the most important part of your sweep's
job, besides a good cleaning, is the inspection of your system. DO NOT rely on a neighbor,
relative, a handy man, or anyone else to check the safety of your system. A few years ago I
had a lady to cancel her appointment with me. Her roofer had been on the roof, looked
down the chimney and said it didn't need to be cleaned. Two weeks later she had a chimney
fire that caused her house to burn down. So please get a professional chimney sweep's opinion
on the safety and condition of your chimney.
You don't want to see the following pic at your house.
More about fireplaces