Why insist on a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep?

Wisdom from the Hearth

by Lou Curley

The chimney industry is unregulated throughout most of the country.

Because of this, anyone with a set of brushes is able to call him or herself a chimney sweep.

Since most of the chimney is out of the view of homeowners, they put their trust in the knowledge of a chimney sweep to do the inspection and/or cleaning and make sure their venting system is in good repair. Defective chimneys can cause fire damage, smoke damage, or carbon monoxide spillage into the living area.

Every year there are news reports of unscrupulous companies and individuals preying on homeowners’ fears of fire and carbon monoxide to sell unnecessary, and expensive repairs. At the end of these reports, the reporter will recommend a “CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.”

The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential is the most accepted, nationally recognized certification in the chimney sweeping industry. It’s our industry’s best…

View original post 187 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisdom from the Hearth

fireplaceashFor all of a wood fire’s beauty, it sure leaves an ugly, dirty mess behind in your fireplace.

Ash, that consistent by-product of wood burning, is unsightly and can create a mess as it builds up in your fireplace or wood stove.

This is why the tendency of most homeowners is to sweep away ash from their fireplace with regularity.

Of course, it’s important that homeowners follow specific steps when removing ash from the fireplace or stove to reduce the risk of fire.

But it’s also important to know that you don’t need to clean ash away after every fire. In fact, a little ash is a good thing.

A one-inch layer of ash on the floor of your fireplace or wood stove makes building and maintaining your next fire much easier and has the impact of promoting warmer fires.

Here’s how it works: the hot coals that separate…

View original post 127 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dirty Jobs: Captain Kirk’s in the News!

Our very own Captain Kirk had the pleasure of being interviewed by The Press Democrat’s Andrea Granahan. Here is that interview with a link to the original at the bottom.

Dirty jobs: Captain Kirk, the beekeeping, bagpiping, biker chimney sweep
Friday, February 1st, 2013 | Posted by Andrea Granahan | no responses

It’s hard to imagine a dirtier job that messing around with a sooty chimney – ask Santa. But “Captain” Kirk Hart the chimney sweep loves his work. He has a business motto: To boldly go where no chimney sweep has gone before. His business used to be called Economy Chimney Services but a customer persuaded him to change it to Captain Kirk. It may seem he is in the wrong business since he admittedly doesn’t like to be dirty, but he insists it’s perfect for him.

“It’s a new adventure every day,” Hart, 52, said.

We asked him to give us the low down dirty truth about his job.

Q: How do you clean a chimney?

A: First we take a picture of the house, then carry tarps, rug runners and whatever we need to keep the house clean. Then we take a picture of the fireplace. Each of my three trucks has a camera we can run up and down the chimney so we can do a sort of colonoscopy of the chimney. We assess the chimney and make sure it is to code because it has to be sound and safe to sweep. If necessary we do repairs, then we set up a vacuum and start using our brushes.

Q: Do you have the traditional top hat and tails?

A: Sure do, and suspenders. Usually I wear black coveralls to hide any soot. The top hat and tails came about after sweeps got a bad rap from Dickens. Sweeps wanted to look more respectable. That’s also when the wide brushes came into use so little kids didn’t have to go down chimneys any more. Then the legend is a sweep fell off a roof – an occupational hazard – but he was saved when his suspenders caught on the eaves, and they are now considered good luck.

A: How did you get into the business?

A: Actually I had trained at the police academy and was waiting for placement when a buddy of mine who was a sweep broke his hand. I took over for him. I am driven. I have to take over whatever I do. When I was working my way through college, I got a job as a dishwasher. By the end of the summer I was the executive cook in the restaurant. So I really got into sweeping and found I love it. My favorite part is getting out there to meet people.

Q: What’s the toughest job you ever did?

A: I cleaned chimneys at George Lucas’ house. He had eight chimneys, and had had a chimney fire which was why he called me in. We found there were still cracks in a chimney that had to fixed. Sometimes someone has to go into a chimney. I’m a claustrophobe but fortunately one of my crew is a real skinny guy. Every job is a different and offers its own challenges. That’s one of the things I like about it.

Q: How do you clean up?

A: There’s a product PR 88 invented by German sweeps. It’s lanolin based glycerin. It cleans us up right away. We wash immediately after every job otherwise people wouldn’t let us in their homes. Our hands do get stained. I also stress safety. We wear heap filtered respirators to guard against black lung.

Q: Ever find anything stuck in a chimney?

A: All the time, dead animals, jackets and hats roofers dropped. We find balls and other toys. I’ve rescued trapped animals like squirrels and raccoons, found dead ones. The most memorable was a barn owl I found trapped behind a fireplace insert. I took him home, nursed him back to health and set him free. Once a hawk landed on a chimney sweep. Turned out it had escaped from a falconer and it wanted the sweep to feed him.

Q: Is the business regulated?

A: No, but the Chimney Safety Institute of America tests and certifies chimney sweeps and people should always ask for that certification when they hire a sweep to be sure it’s done safely. I advise people to get their chimney inspected and if necessary cleaned after each cord of wood they burn. Buy two cords, let one age, then get another to age when you burn the first one.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I ride a Harley, sometimes pull a trailer with it to jobs. I keep bees, and I play in the Scottish Games. I toss a caber and the sledge hammer. Now I am learning to play the bagpipe.

You can see the full article at http://sebastopol.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2013/02/news/captain-kirk-the-beekeeping-bagpiping-biker-chimney-sweep/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time for Spring Cleaning- Call Captain Kirk

Springtime is here, and it’s the perfect time to get your chimney cleaned. Keep your chimney safe by getting rid of those nasty creosote cling-ons.
Contact Captain Kirk today for our spring cleaning specials. (707) 542-6678

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Captain Kirk’s Chimney Service is Online

Welcome to Captain Kirk’s Chimney Service. We’re in the process of setting up our new website and we will be posting information, tips, and other information for you here. However, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 707-542-6678.

Posted in Special Announcements, Uncategorized | Leave a comment