I have a stainless steel flexible liner fitted to my woodburning stove. This means I don’t need it swept, doesn’t it?
This is a popular misconception. Any solid fuel appliance must have the flue swept at least once, and sometimes twice a year whether it’s lined or not. The gases given off by burning wood contain corrosive substances which will cling to the liner, particularly at the top where it’s coolest. These substances will eventually rot the liner resulting in a costly replacement. Apart from making sure your liner is kept clear, sweeping the flue regularly will prolong the life of your liner. For more details please download our PDF Document.
Why do I need to fit a liner to a woodburning stove?
Mainly for safety and efficiency reasons. It’s less likely (depending on what fuel you burn and/or how you burn it) that tar will form in a 6” diameter stainless steel liner than a 9” (or bigger) square brick flue. A liner is designed to get hotter quicker and remain hotter. This, in turn, will make the stove burn more efficiently as the warm flue will ‘draw’ the smoke away safely into the atmosphere.
Do you fit woodburning stoves and liners?
No. Please go to (www.hetas.co.uk/find-installer/) to find a registered installer that covers your area.
Why does wood have to be seasoned?
When wood is first cut down it contains about 50% sap and resin which, when burnt, goes up the chimney as gas. When this gas reaches a cool part of the chimney it condenses, liquefies and then solidifies. This is known as creosote or tar which is highly flammable and can be very difficult to remove. Continual burning will increase the coating and progressively run down the flue. Eventually a hot ember or flame may ignite the creosote resulting in a chimney fire. By seasoning the wood (ideally over 2 or 3 years) the moisture content will reduce to about 20% which in turn will reduce the risk of tarring. Avoid burning ‘fast growing’ trees like Pine and Leylandii as they contain an exceptional amount of sap and resin and takes significantly longer to season. Also avoid burning treated or tanalised wood. For more details please download our PDF Document.
Do I need to have my gas appliance or oil boiler chimney swept every year as well?
Although these appliances create little or no soot deposits, there could still be a blockage in the flue. You
should have these appliances serviced every year and your engineer should perform a flow-test on the flue
and if it fails then the chimney should be swept and re-tested.
Why, even after I’ve had the chimney swept, am I still getting bits falling down?
Sweeping will clear the majority of soot or any other loose material in the chimney but, particularly in older
chimneys, the act of sweeping will disturb more of the mortar lining. Wind and rain will cause these bits to
fall down. This is quite common and nothing to worry about but serious lumps of debris constantly falling
down should be investigated.
Why does smoke come back into the room when I light the fire?
There are various reasons and could be any of the following:
Air Starvation - All solid fuel appliances, including open fires, require an adequate air supply to ensure that the efficient combustion of the fuel occurs and the chimney functions correctly. Not only will smoking back occur, the levels of carbon monoxide will increase which is a serious health hazard. The amount of ‘free air’ depends on the kind of fireplace you have. Consult a local HETAS registered installer (www.hetas.co.uk/find-servicing) who will advise and fit the size of vent required.
Fireplace opening too high or too large for the flue - The flow of air and other gases through a flue is limited by the size and constructional details of the flue itself. Leakage of combustion products is very common with dog-grates or basket grates standing in very large openings. Reducing the size of the opening generally works.
Unsuitable flue size - An unlined stove, for instance, feeding into an Inglenook flue. The flue is so large it doesn’t get hot enough to drive the flue gases out of the terminal. The smoke may find leaks in the flue resulting in the smell of smoke in other rooms.
Blocked or partially blocked flue - A blockage in the chimney can generally be initially corrected or highlighted by sweeping.
Cold flue - Cold air in a flue that hasn’t been used for a while will draw down into the warmer room. Do you feel a draught when you put your hand in the fireplace? If so, before lighting, warm the flue up by using a blow torch or even a hair dryer. Once lit, the warm air from the fire will rise and take the smoke with it.
Downdraught - Downdraught is caused where the stack is too short, high trees or buildings are too close to the stack or there is interference from adjacent pots. The wind around the pot will be disrupted and will prevent the smoke from exiting properly causing a back-up in the flue and puffs of smoke coming back into the room. Modifying the terminal(s) will generally solve this problem.
Incorrect Terminal - The wrong cowl may have been fitted which is not designed to be used for the installed appliance.
Other less common causes - Throat over the fire is too large or badly formed.
Flue offset is too low, too abrupt, too long or baffled.
The clay liner has been poorly fitted
How can I prevent birds nesting in my chimney?
Jackdaws are creatures of habit and the same pair invariably nest in the same chimney every Spring. So even if you have the nest cleared they’re likely to come back the next season. I can supply and fit birdguards which will prevent them from nesting but also allow you to use the fire as normal. The guards I provide will also allow the chimney to be swept without pushing the guard off which, unfortunately, other types of guards or the stuffing of chicken wire into the pot, doesn’t allow.
Do you send reminders the next time my chimney is due to be swept?
If you’d like a reminder I will need a mobile number. I will send a text just before your next sweep is due.
How much does it cost to sweep a chimney?
Charges can vary depending on the type of fireplace you have. Woodburners (with or without liners), open grates, inglenooks, oil boilers all have different charges. As of 1st January 2018 charges start from £50. Send me an email or call stating your particular fireplace and I will be happy to give you a more accurate quote.
Can I get a discount if I have more than one chimney to sweep?
Yes. If you would like more than one chimney swept in the one visit, please contact me and I’ll give you a quote. I can also offer discounts with customers who arrange with their neighbours to have their chimney swept on the same day.
How is a chimney swept these days?
Since the use of chimney boys were made illegal in 1875, chimneys in England and Wales have been swept using rods and brushes and are still the preferred method of sweeping to this day. It’s also a far cleaner operation now with the use of ‘soot proof’ sheets and a vacuum cleaner. A recent, effective invention is the ‘power sweeping’ method which uses plastic strands as a brush and powered using a drill. Very effective, particularly on stainless steel liners installed with a woodburning stove. I use the ‘power sweeping’ method on lined woodburners and traditional rods and brushes for all other flues.
How long does it take to sweep a chimney?
It can take anything between 30 - 60 minutes to sweep one chimney from start to finish. However I may come across a problem which takes longer to clear. e.g. a birds’ nest. A nest that takes an exceptionally long time to clear may incur a small extra charge.
What do I need to do to prepare for your visit?
All I need is clear access to the fireplace and an area in front of the fireplace ideally about 6’ square plus the use of an electric socket for the vacuum cleaner. I will provide all the necessary sheeting to cover the carpet in front of the fire and to contain the deposits from your chimney. It’s not normally necessary to cover your furniture, however if you would like to have them covered, I’d be happy to oblige. Oh, and the fire needs to be out for at least 12 hours before my visit.
Can I keep the soot and/or ash?
Of course, it’s yours at the end of the day! Most customers don’t want it so I take it away as a matter of course but if you want it, just let me know.
When is the best time to have your chimney swept?
Spring and Summer is the best time, after you’ve lit your last fire. Get it done then, and you’ll be ready for the cold weather when it arrives next Winter. The busiest time is August to December when you may have to wait up to 4 weeks for an appointment - not good if you want to light the fire!
Do I need to fit a cowl?
It’s not always necessary to fit a cowl. There are many types and it depends on what kind of fireplace you have, what you burn or what kind of problem you’re encountering. I supply and fit all types of cowl. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.
Why do I need a NACS Certificate of Sweeping?
A Certificate of Sweeping is issued by every member of the NACS after the sweep is complete. This is an important document as it proves that your chimney has been swept by a professional sweep who has swept your chimney to a strict code of practice. Your home insurance policy may be invalid if you can’t prove your chimney has been swept regularly.
Who are the NACS?
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps are a professional trade association who promote high standards for sweeping, inspection and maintenance of chimneys. I have been a member since 1999. Click on the logo at the top of the page for more information.
Who are HETAS?
The Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme is the official body recognised by Government to approve solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services. I am registered as a HETAS approved chimney sweep. Click on the logo at the top of the page for more information.
If you have any other questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me either by email, phone or text.