If your home is blessed with a beautiful fireplace, you will also be aware of some of the issues that come with owning a chimney.
Here we look at everything from fireplace cleaning and chimney maintenance to answering questions on how often you should get a chimney sweep done and how much chimney sweeping costs.
Do chimney sweeps still exist?
Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we?
Yes. Chimney sweeps are not just confined to the world of Mary Poppins. Modern chimney cleaning is, of course, much safer than the image portrayed in documentaries about - or films set in - Victorian Britain.
Rather than physically enter a chimney flue, a sweep can clean from the top or the bottom of the chimney and, as well as the traditional brush, a chimney sweep kit includes vacuums and specialist cleaning tools.
But, is chimney sweeping necessary?
It certainly is. The build-up of soot and creosote inside a chimney liner makes it more susceptible to fires.
As well as the clear safety reasons, regular chimney inspections make for more effective use of the fireplace, as any blockages can prevent the flue from working properly and stop your heat logs or briquettes from warming your home as much as it should.
How often should I get my chimney swept?
Unless you need serious chimney repair, scheduling an inspection once a year should be enough. Some experts, however, suggest that, if you have a wood-burning chimney (ideal for heat logs and night briquettes), it should be cleaned between 2-4 times a year.
When the cleanings take place all depends on how often you use your fireplace. Of course, it’s going to get more use during the winter months, so your chimney inspection could take place during the burning season, just before it starts to get cold – this will ensure more effective use of your fireplace or stove – or just after, when chimney sweepers may not be as sought after.
Be sure to consider if you use your fireplace throughout the night – all night briquettes can burn until the morning – so don’t just consider its use during the day.
It is also advisable to schedule the cleaning of your chimney as soon as you have moved into a new property, as it may be unclear as to when it was last inspected and cleaned.
Do chimney sweeps make a mess?
A qualified chimney sweeper will arrive with a full license, a camera, a professional chimney sweep brush and specialist cleaning equipment that’s designed to reduce the amount of dust that may leak throughout the process.
Furthermore, professional and experienced chimney cleaning services often work from the bottom up, so any soot will be released through the chimney caps. They will also apply industry sheets to ensure that no mess is made to your living room.
Do chimney sweeps need a license?
In short, no. But you wouldn’t willingly pay an unqualified person to clean your chimney, would you? As with any industry, make sure you hire someone who knows what they are doing. A license from an organisation such as HETAS demonstrates a person or organisation's understanding, experience and training.
How much does chimney sweeping cost?
The most recent figures (Oct 2019) state that chimney cleaning costs range from £50-80 throughout most parts of the UK, but this can rise to £100 or more in London.
That, however, is for a general sweep of the flue. Removing any blockages (fallen bricks, birds’ nests, etc.) may cost a little more.
How long does a chimney sweep take?
A thorough clean of your flue should not take any longer than an hour. If any repairs need to be carried, however, it will take a little longer.
Nevertheless, it is worth it, as you’ll soon be enjoying cosy evenings in front of a gorgeous heat log fire.
So, why are chimney sweeps lucky?
The legend goes that in 1066, King William was saved by a chimney sweep, who pushed him away from an oncoming carriage. The King was so happy, he invited the chimney sweep to his daughter’s wedding and that’s why chimney sweeps are considered good luck, especially if a bride sees one on her wedding day.
As well as being decorative, fireplaces are functional appliances that need care and maintenance.
To ensure your fireplace lasts a long time, buy your Hardwood Heat logs here.
If you use your stove to keep your home warm throughout the night, buy your Lekto Night Briquettes here.