Why do I need to have my chimney / flue swept?
Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gases. Regular sweeping will remove soot, bird nests, cobwebs and any other blockages.
Poorly maintained or blocked chimneys can:
- Allow dangerous fumes, particularly Carbon Monoxide to enter the room, which can cause serious damage to your health and, in the worst cases, prove fatal.
- Allow a build-up of combustible tar and creosote on the inside of the flue, which can catch fire. This could cause property damage – the least usually being a cracked or broken chimney pot, which will need to be replaced and the worst being you could lose your home!
- Allow soot to accumulate up the chimney, which affects the efficiency of the fire by reducing the flue size. This lowers the draw of smoke upwards and can allow it to enter the room, not only causes irritation to you, but can also blacken your fireplace or the decorating above it.
How much does it cost to have my chimney swept?
This depends on a number of factors, including the type of appliance or chimney you have, the time the job will take to complete properly, and the location within the UK. We will discuss this with you before starting to sweep, i.e. if we find a bird’s nest which will take considerably longer to clear than a standard sweep, and never charge you for something that has not been agreed.
How often does my chimney need sweeping?
Frequency will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, appliance, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, and the type of chimney you have. The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance purposes only:
- Smokeless fuel: At least once a year
- Wood: Quarterly when in use
- Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use
- Oil: Once a year
- Gas: Once a year
Will having my chimney swept make a mess?
Professional Chimney Sweeps are very mindful and conscious of making as little mess as possible, and are trained in the prevention of dust escaping during sweeping. However, there are exceptional circumstances, e.g. if a chimney may be blocked with a bird's nest, which makes it difficult to guarantee that no mess will be made. We carry a quantity of dust sheets to cover the floor and furniture in these circumstances.
What should I do to prepare for the sweep’s visit?
We will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. We ask that you clear any ornaments from the hearth and mantelpiece, and that you clear the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish etc. before we arrive.
Do I need to have my gas/oil flues swept?
Yes, although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot, there are still numerous other problems which can affect chimney function which sweeping can solve or identify. It will also help with the prevention of chimney fires and even carbon monoxide poisoning.
I’ve just moved house – do I need to have my chimney cleaned?
Yes, as you may not necessarily know when it was last cleaned properly by a professional chimney sweep.
What is the best fuel to use?
For certain appliances there is a recommended fuel which is the one that should be used. In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting fuel. Wood that has been properly seasoned is commonly used as it is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. Ideally the moisture level of wood should be below 20% - we can check this for you, free of charge, as part of our standard sweeping service.
However, some people prefer using coal as it suits them better. If you are thinking of using coal, then we recommend you use a local approved coal merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you.
Please remember that some areas of the UK are smoke-free zones, which must also be taken into consideration when selecting fuel.
Why do I need my chimney swept before it is closed off?
If a chimney is closed off, it can become damp. If there is soot in your chimney, then this soot can turn into black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If the damp gets bad, then it can penetrate through the wall into the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls.
Why are there smoke marks just above the fireplace?
This may be caused by smoke leaking back into the room; call your local professional chimney sweep to seek their advice as soon as possible.
A bird has come down my chimney, how do I prevent this happening again?
Seek the advice of your local professional chimney sweep who will be able to advise you on a suitable terminal / guard for your chimney.