Frequently Asked Questions
How often does my chimney need to be cleaned?
The fire service recommends that, in normal use, chimneys should be swept as follows (unless your insurance company or stove manufacturer declares otherwise):
- Chimneys with solid fuel appliances: Smokeless fuels at least once a year / Domestic bituminous coal at least twice a year / Wood burning every three months when in use.
- Chimneys with gas appliances: once a year and should be checked by a Gas Safe technician.
- Chimneys with oil appliances once a year and should be checked by an OFTEC technician.
I’ve just lit my fire and it is smoking – does it need to be cleaned?
If it has been used but not been swept within the past 12 months, for safety it should be swept as soon as possible. If it has not been used since it was last swept, and the problem of birds nesting can be ruled out (if there is a cage or cowl on the chimney), it could be due to the cold or weather conditions. Please call me and we may be able to give advice on the appropriate action to be taken.
If you think there is a blockage in your chimney, please advise me, or call to discuss the problem. I can remove most blockages and can establish what has happened and advise on how to prevent it happening again.
Since there may be eggs or even hatched baby birds in a nest (which are protected) I will not remove nests during the breeding season (March & August) to ensure that the young have left the nest. For more information and advice, see this link from the RSPB.
How much will it cost?
Check out my prices here
How long does it take?
It usually takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to sweep each chimney. Occasionally this may take a little longer.
Blockages (e.g. a bird’s nest) take more time to clear because of the amount of debris that has to be removed. Where I know, or our customer suspects, there is a blockage I try to schedule this at the end of our working day to ensure there is time to do the work in full and any potential delay does not inconvenience other customers.
What happens if I can’t keep the appointment?
If you need to change or cancel your appointment, I’d really appreciate you giving me as much notice as possible so I have a chance to reallocate your appointment to someone else.
If you are unable to give us less than 24 hours’ notice, I do reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee of up to 100% of the quoted fee.
Why don’t you give me a specific time for my appointment?
When you book a visit, I give you an arrival time slot of one hour. As much as I would love to give you a precise time sometimes traffic congestion or unexpected challenges at a previous appointment can disrupt our schedule. If I am going to arrive outside our scheduled time (earlier or later) I will always ring you to let you know and check whether it is still convenient.
What happens if I need to go out before you arrive?
If this is my first visit; I would prefer it if someone is home when I arrive. I appreciate emergencies do crop up so please let me know in advance if you need to leave a key in a secure place or with a neighbour. In the unfortunate event no-one is home when I visit or I cannot gain access the cancellation charge will be up to 100% of the quoted fee.
Do you need us to stay with you whilst you are here – or is it OK to ‘leave you to it?’
Often my customers simply let me in and then go out! But it’s totally up to you. I will happily work with you to make my service as convenient as possible.
What if I have to go out but you encounter a problem?
If I find anything out of the ordinary or of concern, I will contact you – it is best to provide me with both a landline and a mobile contact whenever possible. If further work is needed, I will check with you before carrying out any additional work unless you are not present or not contactable and I believe the work is essential or it would be dangerous to leave the situation as it is.
Do I need to cover the furniture?
My service is as clean as I can make it. I provide sheets that cover the fireplace opening and the area to the front of the fireplace, and I also use a commercial vacuum to keep dust to an absolute minimum.
When I remove a nest, however, I recommend that your furniture, television, near-by curtains and carpets are covered. I will do my best to contain the debris but, until I start removing the nest, I cannot be sure of how big it is. The action of removing the nest means it is impossible to fully seal the fireplace and therefore further precautions need to be taken by the householder.
What happens if you make a mess?
The worst thing that I can do when sweeping is to bring soot down the chimney and into the room. I am very experienced and take every precaution to prevent this.
I have public liability insurance up to £2,000,000 if an accident happens, you are fully covered.
Am I likely to get any mess after you’ve swept?
I will always sweep your chimney to the best of my ability and report anything that I found to be out of the ordinary or of concern. Although I make every effort to remove as much soot and debris from the chimney as possible in exceptional circumstances (such as when the soot contains moisture or cold air is trapped in the chimney) small amounts of soot can sometimes fall after I leave. If you’re concerned about this do give me a call.
What do you do with the soot you’ve removed?
I will leave the soot with you in a bag for disposal with your household waste.
How and when do I pay?
As standard, customers pay me directly at the end of your visit. I can provide details for a bank transfer if preferred, I also take card payments.
Will you invoice me?
Yes, I can email you an invoice if required.
Do you take credit cards?
Debit and credit card terminals work via mobile telephone signals. I have the capacity to take card payments, as long as the signal in your home is strong enough. Please check in advance if this is important to you.
My house insurance stipulates annual cleaning of my chimney. Are you able to provide proof to show it has been swept?
Yes. You will receive a certificate of chimney sweeping after its been swept.
Are you able to check the safety of my chimney when you sweep it?
My aim to keep your chimney clean and safe to use. However, I am only able to conduct a brief visual inspection of your chimney unless you request a CCTV inspection. This further inspection might highlight any problems with the chimney itself. Please note that there is a limit to what can be seen by CCTV inside a chimney! Your certificate of chimney sweeping is not a warranty or guarantee that your fireplace, chimney stack or appliance is safe. Please let me know of any suspected problems in advance.
Are you able to provide advice if you believe our chimney needs some maintenance?
A CCTV inspection may be useful for assessing any damage, when getting quotes for any remedial work and providing evidence for insurance or repair purposes. I am always more than happy to advise on what might be required.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me