A lot of fireplaces have internal dampers; there is a handle that comes down into the fireplace; you pull the handle towards you to open the damper, and you push it towards the back of the fireplace to close it. When we sweep these chimneys, the creosote and debris ends up on the smoke shelf behind the damper.
For chimneys that lack rain caps/animal guards, there is usually an accumulation on the smoke shelf of various things, which can include leaves, twigs, bird carcasses and nests, milk cartons, chunks of plaster, rocks, pieces of steel: anything and everything that ever climbed, flew, fell or was dropped down the chimney…is still sitting there behind that damper.
When Bailey’s Chimney C&R cleans a chimney with an internal damper, we do it right. That means removing whatever is behind the damper on the smoke shelf. To do this, we have two options:
- Disassemble damper and scrape what is on the smoke shelf into a bucket, or
- Reach up into the smoke shelf with the vacuum hose and vacuum everything out from behind the damper.
Unfortunately, a lot of chimney sweeps don’t take this step, which is actually the most important part of the job.
We at Bailey’s, on the other hand, do it right.