- How often should I get my chimney swept
Both the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) and Solid Fuel Association (SFA) strongly recommend:
1. smokeless fuel systems be swept once a year.
2. bituminous (normal house coal) coal twice a year,
3. wood quarterly ie. four times a year.
4. Oil and Gas once a year.
- Why do chimneys need to be swept?
A chimney needs to be swept because it is the exhaust system for your heating appliance. If the flue is blocked, this will stop poisonous fumes and/or hot gases from escaping through the chimney. If they do not escape easily then both your health AND your property could be in danger. With most solid fuel appliances, sweeping removes any soot, tar or creosote deposit build ups during appliance use. This is important because these build ups reduce the diameter of the flue, are often flammable and hence significantly increase the risk of chimney fires.
- My fire smokes in certain wind conditions/directions?
This could either be down-draught or a pressure variation. For downdraught you can try getting an anti-downdraft cowl fitted and for pressure variation you need to increase your room pressure. Chimneys do have a running temperature and the time to heat up is sometimes a reason for initial smoking which clears after a short while.
NB/ For more information on the causes and curing of these problems in downloadable .PDF format see information downloads here and here.
- What is downdraught and pressure variation?
Dd is when wind for various reasons, blows down a chimney which then prevents gases and smoke from rising up the chimney to escape as normal. Pv is simply when the pressure at the fire is less than at the chimney pot causing air to be sucked back down the chimney. More info here
- What is Carbon monoxide and how dangerous is it?
Monoxide is formed when a carbon-based fuel is burned inefficiently in low oxygen conditions. It has No odour or colour and CANNOT be detected by the human nose. Whether it’s wood, coal, gas or oil you burn, ALL of these fuels give off Carbon Monoxide.Further info can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/co.htm
- What happens to the soot?
It has been many years now since we used to take away customers soot. We now have to bag it and leave it for deposit into the customers GREEN household rubbish bin. If you are a keen gardener you may want to keep yours.
- Why do I need to sweep a chimney before it is closed off?
When a chimney is closed off, it will end up damp and when there is soot in the flue, it will turn into an acidic slurry. This especially a problem in older chimneys and often soaks through into the internal walls causing severe problems. If bad enough this damp will penetrate through to the room, where it will leave unpleasant stains on the walls.
- Does the weather affect your ability to sweep or any other services?
Most of our sweeping jobs are done from the bottom up using rods, so normally the weather would NOT affect our ability to sweep but it may slow us down and affect our arrival time. If we are coming to fit a chimney covering or any other climbing job and the weather is extreme we will telephone you in advance to confirm our appointment.
- Can you supply and fit chimney coverings?
Yes we can supply (or you can too) and fit most coverings, including china-hats, cages, cowls, Gas Caps, etc. contact us for a very competitive quote!
- How do i know if and what to do when I have a chimney fire?
Many times people don’t know their chimney is on fire until they hear a noise similar to a jet airplane taking off!!
In the event of a chimney fire occurring: Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service. It will help if someone can wait outside to meet them. If you have a conventional open fire, extinguish the fire by gently splashing water onto the open fire.
If you have a solid fuel appliance, close down the ventilation as much as possible. Move furniture and rugs away from the fireplace and remove any nearby ornaments. Place a spark guard in front of the fire. Feel the chimney breast in other rooms for signs of heat. If a wall is becoming hot, move furniture away. Ensure that access to your attic or loft space is available for the Fire Service as they will want to thoroughly check this area for signs of possible fire spread.
If you see smoke or flames from any part of your home wait for the fire service outside.
- Ways to avoid chimney fires.
a). Use seasoned woods only (dryness [<20%] is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations).
b). Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
c). Never burn cardboard boxes, waste paper, christmas trees, animal fur, crisp pokes because it has been proven junk starts chimney fires.
d). Burn only the recommended fuels for your appliance and flue type (If you are unsure check your manufacturer’s instructions or ask your stove supplier).
E) Get your chimney swept regularly…… ?!?
- Birds Nest Removal?
Firstly, it is both unethical and illegal to remove nests during the nesting season (approx April to end of July) when eggs/chicks are in the nest. So they ARE removed from August till March.
Secondly, our hourly rate is set bearing in mind this is often an extremely physical job and we could do 2 or perhaps even 3 normal jobs in an hour.
Prevention rather than cure is definitely the preferred option, so please consider having your pots caged or some other protection applied before any nest has to be removed. For more information see our posts under the ‘birds nests’ category.
- Do you do ‘other or odd jobs’?
We very well just might 🙂 If you don’t see it listed in our services on this site please feel free to contact us to inquire!
However, we do not do ‘cheapskate’ versions of other trades such as roofers or builders.