We asked Lou Curley of Lou Curley's Chimney Service in Pennsylvania to tell us a little bit about himself...
What is a question you get asked most about being a chimney sweep/chimney sweeping?
Typical Mary Poppins/top hat nonsense questions.
What advice do you wish you had received when you were getting started?
When I first started in the industry, I worked for somebody else. I wish I'd had access to training through CSIA (other than just the manual), NFI, and FIRE. I learned more after I started my business than I did working 12 years for somebody else.
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job? What are your best strategies for overcoming it?
Not being taken as seriously as a realtor, home inspector, or HVAC contractor when it comes to the chimney. When given the chance to show our knowledge, we usually can win the customer over.
Who was your most famous customer?
One time we got a call to take birds out of M. Night Shyamalan's chimney. In the end, it turned out the birds were dead the whole time...
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Becoming a CSIA Master Sweep, NFI Master Hearth Professional, and a FIRE Certified Fireplace and Chimney Inspector.
Have you ever had to make your own tool to solve a particular problem?
A shovel duct taped to a rod has been a pretty profitable tool for removing blockages at the bases of furnace flues.
Weirdest thing you have ever found in a chimney?
A fireplace flue was blocked about 30 feet up with a balloon from the kid's birthday party.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I'm into scrapple, Mr.T, and I'm a season ticket holder to the Philadelphia Eagles. I also like generally hanging out with friends and family.
What is, in your opinion, the most valuable part of being a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild?
There's a ton of value, but the best would be in-person networking at the annual convention. Talking to sweeps from across the country with various sized companies who will all freely give whatever information is asked of them is a pretty cool thing.
Thanks Lou for sharing! I don't know about you, but I might have asked M. Night Shyamalan to put me in his next movie... If you would like to be featured in the next Meet a Member, just send me, Annemarie Stockton, an email at email@example.com.
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