I started Chimney Sweeping when living on a farm in Quebec, long before moving to Ontario. My dad told me to get up on the roof and clean the chimney, so I did. I had however little training and knowledge how to do it, I guess it was more or less okay as I did scrub the deposits out a best I could – but really never knew why. But, in those days there were few rules and guidelines to follow even if one wanted to do so.
I guess that would have been the late 1960’s, but after moving to Ontario in 1975, I put the brushes aside. In 1995 a friend asked if I knew somebody who could clean their chimney, and a light went off in my head! I had brushes stored away, why couldn’t I do it, so I did. A few other friends heard about it and asked me to do the same, so it carried on, all be it a part time venture. But were there now formal processes and rules in place? Perhaps so. After doing this for a few years, I decided to attend some WETT classes and learn more or at least be formally recognized for what I did know. I started with my SITE Basic Inspector, as do all within the WETT Education system, and move up from there. Next the Chimney Sweep, Advanced Chimney Sweep and Comprehensive Inspector and finally Advanced Technician.
Now that I am living in Penetanguishene, and I am doing most of my work in the local area where and when possible. I am pretty much retired, and have been for a decade. I work around the house, doing painting and small renovations and repairs on our own home. Because of this I work pretty much in the Midland and Penetanguishene area and generally do no more than one job a day. That’s right no more than one job a day, and a busy week is two jobs in one week. Many weeks I do none at all, that is part of slowing down, doing what you enjoy when you want to do it and no more.
Since starting in Quebec, the tools have evolved! Now the most common sweep tool I use is the rotary sweep, a marvelous invention I might add. I use to use Perkins most of the time but now use SnapLok more often than the Perkins. In the old days I used to get up on the roof and use brooms, yes steel brushes on the end of poles. I still have them! But even the chimney brushes today offer a poly material as well as the older steel versions.
I have an attitude of constant learning. And while I have taken training from manufacturers on several systems, I do not pretend to know everything. However my goal is always to find the source of the problem and remedy it in the most reasonable way for you, the customer.
If you are considering the purchase of a wood stove, fireplace or pellet stove I suggest that you at least contact a person experienced in the field to discuss options, pros & cons as well as total cost once installed. If you plan to install yourself, at least hire somebody to review and do final inspection.