Meet Master Chimney Sweep Steve Carter and his team at Chimney Sweeps, Inc., serving San Diego County



Visions of Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep come to mind when we think of Steven Carter. He is a real and current top notch chimney sweep. In fact, he’s called a Master Sweep in the old English tradition, and he’s swept over 40,000 chimneys in his career. Chim Chim Cheree indeed.

Carter is the founder of Chimney Sweeps, Inc. He started the company in 1985 and is based in Lakeside, although the company maintains chimneys throughout San Diego County. It has more than 30,000 customers. His philosophy is simple: “Your fireplace is part of your home. If the chimney goes away, so does the house. We take care of your chimney so we take care of your home.

Despite the resounding success of the business, Carter fell into the profession somewhat by accident.

“I had recently gone off the road as a touring musician and found myself looking for my next stable gig when I came across a ‘request for help’ ad in the newspaper,” he explains. he. “Coming from England – where a fair amount of luck and folklore surrounds the chimney sweep profession – I was immediately drawn to the advert so simply written as ‘Chimney Sweep Needed’. The following week I was found dressed head-to-toe in black, with tailcoats and a top hat.

Chimney sweeping is one of those rare professions that hasn’t really changed much from old world traditions dating back to 1900s England. Steve describes it neatly: “You seal the chimney from the bottom with tarps and plastic. Then at the top you use the correct size brush attached to the posts to brush the chimney up and down several times. With the exception of a high-powered vacuum, everything works pretty much the same. »

Running the business is definitely a family affair. Steve’s wife, Valerie, takes care of the finances. Her sister, Georgia, answers the phone. His son, Julian, is in charge of the office. And his son, Ariel, does special installations and general inspections. Even the voice on the answering machine is his mother’s, with a British accent, of course.

After more than 30 years in the business, Steve has learned a lesson or two about success. For him, it comes with the responsibility to give back to the community in which you serve. In his case, it’s all of San Diego County. “Giving back is a huge reason why we do what we do – and the feeling that all of our hard work not only makes a difference in our lives, but also in the lives of those around us – is of the utmost importance. for everyone here at Chimney Sweeps, Inc.”

The company hosted part of the annual Spirit of Christmas event in Lakeside each year. They support local schools by helping to raise funds for new instruments, lakeside competitions or the marching band. On top of that, a large portion of the company’s profits are donated to national charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Truth about Drugs campaign. Coming from a musical background, Steve also supports Musicians Without Borders, as well as the San Diego Arts Foundation. The Burn Institute is also close to his heart, since one of his sons is a former firefighter.

The company is a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and complies with Fire Department and National Fire Protection Association regulations. These groups advise consumers to have chimneys inspected once a year to check for deposits, construction defects and deterioration. And this inspection should include the roof.

Chimney Sweeps, Inc. can be attached to (619) 593-4020 or visit

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