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Chimney Sweeping FAQs

Here are the answers to a few questions we often get asked. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help!

Chimney Sweeping

There is no official law to have your chimney swept in the UK. However, it is essential to have this done at least annually.

  • Regular chimney sweeping helps prevent a build up of soot, creosote and tar deposits.
  • Clearing the chimney of soot, bird’s nests, cobwebs, leaves and any blockages allows fossil fuels to flow safely up the chimney.
  • Regular chimney sweeping helps prevent a serious risk of chimney fire and dangerous Carbon Monoxide emissions.
  • It’s worthwhile checking your insurance policy for chimney sweeping requirements.

If you have not had your fireplace inspected and chimney swept within the last 12 months, now is the time to call in a qualified sweep. Having your chimney swept prior to the heating season ensures your fireplace is ready for the winter. Sweeps get very booked up so remember to call well in advance.

Appliances that burn fossil fuels, gas and oil should be swept according to industry guidelines. These include lined and unlined chimneys for Agas, Rayburns, woodburners, multi-fuel stoves, pizza ovens, Rayburns, jet masters, pellet boilers and gas fires (where designed for sweeping).

Smokeless Fuels: Minimum once a year

Bitumous Coal: Minimum twice a year / quarterly when in regular use

Wood: Minimum twice a year / quarterly when in regular use

Gas Appliance: Once a year. Should also be checked by a Gas Safe technician.

Oil: Once a year. Should also be checked by an OFTEC technician.

Refer to the manufacturer’s manual. In accordance with regulations post April 2002, a data plate will be located by the appliance, consumer unit or water inlet stating the registered installer’s details, installation date and size and type of liner.

Always use a qualified chimney sweep accredited with one of the following trade bodies.

Ask to see their ID before they carry out any work.

  • APICS (Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps)
  • OFTEC
  • NVQ
  • Guild Of Master Sweeps
  • NACS

Look for these credentials:

  • Up to date rigorous industry training
  • Risk Assessments
  • Adhering to health and safety
  • Working within their organisation’s code of conduct
  • Working to safe and exceptional standards
  • Valid, full insurance
  • Responsive customer care
  • Providing advice on fireplace safety and regulations
  • Guidance on using your appliance to its full efficiency
  • Insurance compliant certificates issued

A professional chimney sweep takes every precaution to keep soot and debris to a minimum. An industrial vacuum with a specially designed filter is used to extract soot and debris after brush and rod sweeping. A chimney should never be cleaned using only a vacuum as this will not remove all soot and debris. As a professional chimney sweep company, we carry out the following onsite:

  • A risk assessment in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to reduce potential hazards.
  • An external inspection to check chimney stack condition and cowl suitability.
  • A maintenance inspection on your fireplace and chimney to identify potential issues.
  • Advice on your installation and whether your fireplace complies with Building Regulations.
  • A maintenance inspection checks the condition of your stove and stove parts.
  • Smoke tests are designed to check for draught, drawing and any leaks.
  • Fully equipped vehicle with tools of the trade to carry out work to a high standard.
  • Special dust sheets are used to protect the vicinity of the fireplace.
  • Bird nest removal.

Provided parts are available from our supplier, we can replace stove parts. These include: Fire rope, stove door glass, fire bricks, baffle plates, dampner, blanking plates.

For remedial work that falls under installation and roof work we advise contacting an OFTEC or HETAS engineer.

Do not use your appliance if you have a nest of any kind. Blockages in the chimney pose a serious risk of chimney fire and lethal Carbon Monoxide emissions.

Bird’s nests should only be removed by a professional chimney sweep with specialist equipment. Insect nests and hives should be removed once the nest has been killed off. Where honey bees are present, contact a local beekeeper, pest control or chimney sweep who are qualified to deal with honey bees. They will humanely remove the nest and relocate the buzzy creatures. They will conduct a risk assessment on how to safely access the chimney or other areas of your property using specialist equipment. Check they are insured to work at height. Other insects may require pest control.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Protection of Birds Act 1954 it is illegal to intentionally remove any active bird’s nest. Should this be the only form of heating; hot water; cooking then the nests may be removed providing a qualified pest control officer is present.

Fitting a bird guard once the nest is clear and nesting season over prevents bird’s nests reoccurring.

Please refer to our Chimney Sweep Guide for further information.

We issue insurance compliant Certificates on completion of work and payment. In the event the fireplace is deemed unsafe in accordance with the Health & Safety Act 1974 a written report is issued. This outlines faults with advisory notes.

Regulations

Contact your Environmental Health or Protection department of your Local Authority to ascertain whether you are in a Smoke Control Area.

Landlords and letting agents are legally required to meet these safety obligations:

• Gas heating systems including chimneys, flues and ventilation associated with the gas and electrical heating appliances are in good, safe working order.

• Gas appliances and / or flues should be regularly maintained and serviced.

• Installation pipe work, appliances, including chimney, flues and ventilation provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.

• Gas safety checks are carried out on each appliance and /or flue provided for tenants annually, or within one year of a new gas appliance being installed.

• Gas equipment / heating appliances is safe or removed before re-letting. Occupiers of the property should allow access for work to be carried out.

• Solid fuel burning / gas / oil appliances / open fires producing poisonous gases, require a clear and unobstructed flue to evacuate gasses away from the property. Adequate and appropriate size ventilation in the form of air vents or air bricks are required.

Further guidance and advice for landlords and letting agents can be found here:  DirectGov

• Using the right type of fuel designed for your appliance is important.

• Multi fuel stoves are designed to burn various fuels. The fire grate encompasses moving parts known as a riddling grate or a static grate containing holes.

• Woodburners usually have static grates without moving parts or burn directly from the grate.

• Operate controls on the appliance at the correct output, to ensure fuel is burning correctly.

• Only burn dry, seasoned wood, ideally hard woods such as oak and ash, at the correct temperature.

• Wood should be sourced from reliable log suppliers, providing wood fuel certified under the Woodsure “Ready to Burn” scheme.

• A moisture gauge indicates whether wood is ready to burn. If the reading registers over 20% the wood is not safe to use. Moisture gauges can be purchased from DIY stores.

• Refer to the manufacturer’s manual and warranty.

More information can be found at: BurnRight

If you’re unsure, call us to see how we can help.
Call 01237 473 457
Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Carbon Monoxide alarms should be fitted in each room where there is a solid fuel / biomass appliance / open fire and certain types of gas appliances. Contact a Gas Safe engineer for guidance on this.

Smoke alarms should be fitted on each floor of the property, positioned permanently on the ceiling or wall.

Purchase alarms conforming to BS EN 50291 standards. Install and test regularly in accordance to manufacturer’s instructions.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Amended Oct 2022.

• Social landlords are required to provide a smoke alarm on every storey of their properties where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

• Both social and private landlords are required to install Carbon Monoxide alarms in all rooms of their properties used wholly or partly as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is present. Excluding gas cookers.

• Landlords are obligated to repair or replace all alarms found to be faulty during the period of a tenancy. Landlords will be required to repair or replace alarms if found to be faulty.

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service offer free Home Fire Safety Visits and safety checks where eligible.

Appointments, Pricing & Payment

We have a clear pricing structure with no hourly rates. We accept bank transfers and all credit / debit cards except AMEX. Payment should be made during our visit to your property. If you will not be present for the appointment, payment is required in full by bank transfer up to 24 hours prior to your appointment. Payment details will be provided.

Please refer to our residential rates or commercial rates page.

We understand you occasionally may need to reschedule or cancel. We operate a 24 hour cancellation policy. Please notify us at least 24 hours prior to your appointment to avoid a late cancellation fee.

See our T&Cs

Due to high demand, appointment slots can get taken quickly so the best way to contact us is by simply calling our office.

Call 01237 473457
Mon -Fri 9am -5pm Mon -Fri.

Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form

Please note: we do not process enquiries or appointments via social media.

Unless your appointment is at 9am, you will be offered a two hour time slot. You will receive an email confirmation at the time of booking.

If we are delayed or ahead of schedule for your timeslot due to unforeseen circumstances, we will endeavour to notify you.

Chimney sweeping usually takes around one hour. This allows for setting up, packing away equipment, maintenance inspection, sweeping, offering guidance where applicable and processing payment and paperwork.

TESTIMONIAL

Very knowledgeable and professional booking experience, prices and services discussed and agreed on phone. Pascal arrived on time and was very efficient. The area was left clean and tidy. Happy to recommend.
– Lucy, Bideford –

TESTIMONIAL

We just wanted to say how pleased we were with the quality, punctuality, cleanliness and excellent service you, Pascal, provided for us this morning. We will certainly be in touch again. Good luck, you deserve to do well.
– D & R Cope, North Devon –

TESTIMONIAL

Pascal has swept two chimneys for us in recent months. On both occasions he arrived on time, was really efficient and left the room clean without any mess. We also find his prices to be very fair and value for money. We will use you again.
– Janet, Torrington –

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