We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My sweep pal was here yesterday morning for my biennial or triennial chimney cleanings. We have posted here several times about chimney fires and chimney cleaning, such as here.
Attention recent college grads: He gets $150/chimney, and it takes him 20-30 minutes. A discount for multiple chimneys. He runs his own life his own way. Retired USMC.
He is a fireplace buff and keeps a wood stove burning in his kitchen all fall and winter. He has a place on Cape Cod and burns there on those cool damp summer evenings too. He agrees with me that a clean fireplace makes a lousy fire. You need a 5 or 6" pile of ash underneath. A clean chimney is another matter. I keep the Maggie's Farm home fire burning all day, October-May. Generally, he scrapes a bucket of stuff out of my flue each time he comes.
Why don't I invest in the brushes and do it myself?
Perhaps I will. We have protection these days from ye olde Chimney Sweep's Cancer - cancer of the scrotum. Nasty disease.
When I was growing up in Milwaukee, we had a fire in the living room fireplace almost every night from October to May. That's one thing I really miss down here in Texas, where we don't even have a fireplace in the house. I used to wash my hair every week and go down to the living room to dry it in front of the fireplace in the soft, comforting heat of the fire.
I envy your daughters, Bird Dog. It's a bonding experience....
Why do you need a layer of ashes? I assumed you'd want the air to circulate under the wood.
I agree with the ash pile - always have a little pile of ashes.
We burn 24/7 during the depth of the winter, afternoon and evenings late Fall and early Spring. I have very little creosote build up - its almost not worth sweeping the chimney in the Spring (get the crud out of the chimney and pipes) and in the Fall (get the bugs out, spider webs, leaves and dead squirrels) out.
Then again, I keep my wood very dry with just a touch of moisture. It also helps that we use a Jotul stove that has a reburner in it to take off and burn the extra combustion gases. Works great obviously.
Depends on how dry your wood is, how much wood you burn per day, stack temperatures (as in how hot the gases in the chimney cool down on their way up) and if you have a reburner stove, regular wood stove or open fire place. My brother has three open fireplaces and sweeps his three times a year too. In particular after his last chimney fire. :>)
FYI: Always have a spray bottle of water handy when you have a wood stove or fireplace. If a chimney fire starts, you can choke it off by spraying down the fire first, then up the flue. The steam will do the trick. Of course, always call the FD so they can clear the chimney and do their thing with thermal imagers.
Everyone's missing the point here - the poor fellow is oppressed by being forced (!) to live in an area where people use chimneys. Making people live in certain areas for jobs is just WRONG!! We need a jobs bill that would allow him to make the same $ while living in Florida or So. Cal.!!