Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Legend of Chimney Sweeps’ Good Luck

Dating back several hundred years, the chimney sweep has been considered a symbol of good luck, particularly to brides and grooms on their wedding days. As more people learn of the luck associated with chimney sweeps, more and more chimney sweeps appear at weddings and other occasions where luck is desired. The reason behind the chimney sweep’s good luck is still debated but seems to have been narrowed down to three legends.

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The most common legend involves King George II back in the 18th century. As told by this legend, the King was riding his horse in a procession when a growling dog appeared. His horse, spooked by dog, became unruly, and the King lost control. Out of the crowd walked a chimney sweep that caught the horse and calmed it down, essentially saving the King from falling to the ground. Thankful for being saved, the King declared all chimney sweeps to be good luck. Allegedly, this message spread across Europe and has stuck around ever since.

Another legend proposed to be the origin of the chimney sweep’s good luck takes place in 1066 with King William of Britain. Peacefully walking down a quiet road, the King fell into the path of a runaway carriage, which put him in grave danger. A chimney sweep happened to foresee the accident and pushed the King out of harm’s way. In return for saving his life, King William invited the chimney sweep to his daughter’s wedding. He wanted his daughter to experience the luck of the chimney sweep as well. The King also declared chimney sweeps were good luck and allowed them to wear top hats while working. Reserved for the distinguished, permitting the top hats was a sign of great respect. Ever since, chimney sweeps at weddings have been considered lucky, and their presence could even negate bad luck.

The third legend is not linked to a specific date or person, but it contains an entertaining story. While working one day, a chimney sweep fell from the roof. Fortunately, the chimney sweep was saved from falling to the ground when his foot became caught in the gutter. Dangling from the gutter, the chimney sweep was completely helpless. Upon hearing the ruckus, the maiden who lived in the house came to the window to investigate. Seeing the poor chimney sweep in such a sad state, she quickly pulled him inside through the window. They quickly fell in love with each other, resulting in the maiden breaking off her engagement to a man she disliked. She and the chimney sweep married and lived happily ever after.

Whether you believe one of these legends or choose to believe a different story, history has shown that generation after generation believes in the good luck brought by chimney sweeps.

Solving a Chimney Draft Problem

With the official start of winter just a few days away, most homeowners with fireplaces or wood stoves have at least burned a couple logs. Fireplaces are not all fun for everyone though. Perhaps you do everything right – the annual sweep and inspection, asking all the right questions, burning all the best wood – and you still cannot seem to build a strong fire. Stop feeling bad because it may not be you. Your chimney may have draft problems.

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Chimneys work because hot air rises. The hot air produced by the fire has a low density, so it moves upward through the chimney. Most fires are burned during the colder months of fall and winter, so the hot air from the fire usually meets comparably cold air from the outside sitting in the chimney. When the hot air meets the cold air, the difference in pressure between the two portions of air creates a vertical pull that draws air up the chimney. This movement of air is known as the “draft,” and it pulls air rich in oxygen from the house to help fuel the fire, and then the smoke and other harmful gases safely escape through the chimney. If the air fails to flow this way, the issue is called a draft problem.

The most common draft problem homeowners experience is a chimney that is too large for the firebox. Old fireplaces in particular often have oversized chimneys that result in draft problems. A wide chimney gives the hot air more room to spread vertically, which then slows its vertical progress. When the hot air moves more slowly up the chimney, the upward pull becomes weaker. Thus, the draft weakens and the air moves inefficiently through the system. Creosote also condenses easier when the flue is too large and the draft is too weak. This can be deadly as creosote is highly flammable and can cause a chimney (or house) fire. Signs of this problem include a small, cool fire or even a fire that refuses to stay lit. Fortunately, this problem can be easily remedied with the help of a chimney specialist. With a few measurements, the specialist can determine the proper flue width the fireplace requires and install a flue lining with the corresponding size.

Another cause of draft problems is a short chimney because the draft is more powerful in a taller chimney. Short chimneys are common in aged bungalows and ranch style houses, and they can lead to cold, smoky, or inconsistent fires. Although adding height to the chimney is not a welcomed expense, it can save money in the long run by preventing a reverse draft in which the cold air from the outside actually flows into the house.

You should not have to worry about draft problems while you simply want to enjoy your home and fireplace. If you live in the area of Aurora, Illinois, get in touch with Pozzi Chimney Sweep for a professional consultation. These experts can diagnose your draft problem and guide you in making the most informed decisions when addressing it.