Why should I have my chimney swept?
Sweeping your chimney is very important. It is to remove any build-up of soot and/or creosote and to make sure the flue is clear allowing the smoke and carbon monoxide to exit. If deposits are allowed to build up year on year they can be very difficult and costly to remove. Gas fires do not produce soot, but they do cause the breakdown of chimney lining. Over the course of winter freezing conditions and heavy rain can cause loose lining to drop and block the flue. Sweeping the flue will give insight into the internal conditions. Chimneys should be swept for insurance purposes. Once a chimney is swept, a certificate is issued for this benefit.
How often should I have my chimney swept?
Fuel Used Frequency
Coal Twice per year
Gas Once per year
Oil Once per year
Solid Fuel Once per year
Wood burning Quarterly when in use
What are the difference types of chimney testing?
There are two types of chimney tests. For gas appliances an airflow test is carried out. I shut the doors and windows to the room where the appliance is situated and light a smoke pellet in the opening. I then check for smoke in all back to back rooms that the flue passes through as well as in the loft space and then check outside that the smoke is only passing out of one pot (this all done from the ground).
The second test is for solid fuel. This is known as a integrity/soundness test. I carry out the same steps as noted for a gas test, however, I must go on the roof once the smoke pellet is lit. I cap the pot in question and look for smoke rising from the other flues/brickwork/render. This test is putting serious pressure on the bricks that divide the flues (the mid feathers). I then carry out my internal checks before issuing test results.
You may have had a simple fall of mortar lining or moved into a new property and have concerns with your flue. If you are thinking of changing your appliance, you should ensure that the chimney/appliance in question has been swept and checked. An installer should not fit a new appliance to a flue without knowing this has been done.
How long does it take to sweep a chimney?
I always allow one hour to sweep a chimney. I try my best to work to a two hour time-slot but sweeping can be a curious job and you never know what you will find until you are at work. In some cases, if I find a birds nest it can hold me up but I will always give that customer my time to complete the job properly. This can alter time slots, I will always call my customer to notify them of changes as early as possible.
What do I need to do before you arrive?
I will need to lay a 1.5 x 2 m ground sheet in front of the fireplace and so ideally the area around the fireplace would be clear. I always ask my customers to clear the mantel piece (if you have one) of ornaments, photographs etc. If you would like to cover sofas or bookshelves you can but this is not generally necessary.