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A chimney sweep is a worker who clears ash and soot from chimneys.  The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion.  During normal operation, a layer of creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney restricting the flow.  If it is not swept properly, the creosote can also catch fire which can set the chimney and the building alight.  The chimney must be swept to remove the soot.  Chimney sweeps operate as venting systems for coal, heating oil, natural gas, wood, and pellet burning appliances need to be maintained.  There is a greater understanding of the dangers of flue deposits and carbon monoxide and gases from combustion.  Most sweeps are done from the bottom of the chimney, rather than the top, to prevent the dispersion of dust and debris.  Chimney Mike’s Chimney Sweeps are professionals; we are trained to diagnose and repair hazards along with maintenance such as removal of flammable creosote, firebox and damper repair, and smoke chamber repair.  Chimney Mike’s Chimney Sweep also offer more complicated repairs such as flue repair and relining, crown repair, and tuck pointing or rebuilding of masonry chimneys.


Chimney and Fireplace anatomy

CHIMNEY CROWN- a chimney crown is placed atop the masonry chimney as a form of protection for your chimney against the weather. Damaged, poorly made, or missing chimney crowns can result in damage to your bricks or a leaky chimney.


FLASHING- sheet metal that is placed in the area where the roof and chimney meet. Flashing is used to form a tight seal between the roof and chimney for the purpose of keeping rainwater or any other moisture from leaking under the roof.


ROOF LINE- where the roof meets the chimney.


MASONRY-Brick work


FLUE- the passage in a chimney through which all gases are vented into the atmosphere.


SMOKE CHAMBER- area of a chimney above the damper and smoke shelf but before the flue that compresses the gases and smoke from a fire in order to facilitate the proper escape of harmful gases out of the flue.


MANTLE-  a construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney breast in a more or less decorative manner.


DAMPER CASING- a casing surrounding the damper


FACING- can be any non-combustible materials such as bri ck, stone , tile, granite, marble, etc. usded to dress the front of your fireplace.


LINTEL- the function of the lintel is to help carry the load created by the inner hearth opening. This feature is also used in window openings, door openings, and archways.


HEARTH-The floor of a firebox.













Pre-Fabricated Fireplace

Pre-fabricated Chimney

Pre-Fabricated Chimney

Pre-fabricated Fireplace

Pre-Fabricated Fireplaces and Chimney Systems


Pre-fabricated fireplaces and chimneys are designed in the factory as a cohesive unit.  Both the fireplace and chimney are regulated and must be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions.


Prefabricated fireplaces/factory-built fireplaces and chimneys can last for quite some time. However, they are appliances. Life expectancy for these types is approximately 10 -15 years as long as there are no damages (due to a chimney fire, lightning strike, water penetration or another occurrence).  Over time, parts can wear out and need to be replaced.

CHIMNEY CAP- a cover that is installed on top of a chimney that allows the proper ventilation of gases into the atmosphere but prevents the intrusion of water, leaves, branches, animals or other debris into the chimney.


FLUE TILE LINERS- a metal tube that is inserted in the chimney to protect the inner chimney wall and the rest of a home from the hazardous gases associated with incomplete combustion of carbon. A flue liner is typically installed in older homes that may have gases leaking out of the chimney and into the house before being vented from the flue.


DAMPER-a retractable plate located at the throat of a chimney. When a chimney is not in use the damper is typically left closed in order to impede the flow of air into a chimney thereby conserving energy. When a chimney is in use, the damper is left open to ensure the hazardous gases associated with a chimney are safely emitted.


SMOKE SHELF- a flat area located behind the damper that is above the back wall of the firebox. The smoke shelf acts as a collecting place for anything that falls down the chimney and is important in stopping downdrafts.

THROAT- The opening above the firebox is the throat, and it is where the fireplace’s venting system begins. During construction of the fireplace, a throat damper is usually placed there. Requirements for the throat have recently changed so that they must now be at least 8 inches above the inner hearth, whereas before the requirement was 6 inches. Anytime the firebox tends to leak smoke into the home, it is likely an indication that the throat of the fireplace isn’t constructed properly or needs some type of maintenance or repair.

FIREBOX-Area located in the opening of a chimney where wood is placed for burning.

FLUE- the passage in a chimney through which all gases are vented into the atmosphere.


FIREBOX- area located in the opening of a chimney where wood is placed for burning.


ASH PIT COVER- a cover over the Ash pit


ASH PIT - a small trench located in the base of a fireplace used as a receptacle for ashes.


CLEANOUT DOOR- the clean out door helps with the task of cleaning the ash dump and is oftentimes located in the basement.


FOUNDATION- the fireplace foundation is usually made of heavy duty brick or cinderblock. This sturdy component provides structural support for the chimney and is specially constructed to withstand heat from hot ash.

Masonry Chimney

Masonry Chimney

Masonry Fireplaces and Chimney Systems


Masonry fireplaces and chimneys are constructed on-site from stone or brick and mortar and are part of the home structural design; they are built with the house.  When properly designed, constructed, and maintained, masonry fireplaces and chimneys can withstand decades of heat and fire abuse. The bricks and mortar may begin to crumble over the span of many years, but as long as you have regular maintenance and a professional water-repellent coating applied to your masonry system, it will add warmth, enjoyment, and value to your home well into the future.

Masonry Fireplace

Masonry Fireplace
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