Can you clean your own chimney

Can you clean your own chimney?

chimney sweep wolverhampton 16-07-2009 12-22-08 2362x1573Is chimney sweeping a skill that’s easily learnt? Can you safely and effectively clean your own chimney or is this a job best left to the professionals? It is always recommended to use a professional company.

Chimney sweeping…not an outdated concept!

With the modern technology and conveniences we have in our homes today – such as central heating – many people think that the traditional coal and wood fires have been completely replaced and are obsolete. But in fact, old-fashioned fireplaces are coming back in vogue, with many people valuing the great character they can add to a room, as well as the excellent source of heat they can provide if they are maintained properly. This means that sweeping chimneys – rather than being an anachronism – is still something that many homeowners need to acquaint themselves with.

Why bother cleaning chimneys?


As a fire is burning in a fireplace, it releases gases which rise up through the chimney, depositing soot on the inner chimney walls in the process. The soot gradually accumulates on the walls and can eventually obstruct or even block the chimney, preventing the rising gases from escaping. Not only does this obstruction lower the efficiency of the fireplace – because air can no longer be sucked through to supply the fire so the fire burns itself out – but it can also lead to safety risks. This is due to harmful gases not being able to escape up the chimney and also due to the build-up of highly flammable substances such as creosote within the soot, which have the potential to cause chimney fires.

In fact, the National Association of Chimney Sweeps states that keeping a chimney clean and swept aids in the “prevention of chimney fires and reduces the risk of dangerous fume emissions from blocked heating appliances, flueways and chimneys.” Thus, cleaning your chimney regularly helps in maintaining a safer, more efficient fireplace.

Doing it yourself…modern ways

It is possible to clean your chimney yourself although you will have to be prepared to devote probably an entire day to the task, do some hard labour, have lots of patience and most of all, have the necessary equipment. Don’t forget also that chimney sweeping can be a very messy process so be prepared to get dirty, as well as take action to protect the rest of your room – such as covering carpets with plastic or a dust sheet before beginning the cleaning.

 

Before grabbing the traditional brushes, have a look at two modern developments which may help to make your task easier. First of all, there is now a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for cleaning chimneys and such machines can usually be rented from DIY hardware stores. Be aware, though, that such machines are only really suitable for chimneys kept in good condition. If your chimney has been neglected for a long time or it has a large build-up of impacted soot, then this vacuum cleaner will be ineffective.

Secondly, there are now chemicals which can be used when lighting a fire so that as they burn, they produce a gas which rises up through the chimney and breaks down many of the deposits on the walls. However, even with this method, there will be cleaning involved as the loosened soot will fall down the chimney back into your fireplace, possibly crashing down at the most unexpected times!

Doing it yourself…traditional

Of course, it is possible to just tackle the job with old-fashioned chimney brushes. However, be aware that this process will require a lot of patience and will be physically very tiring

The most important thing is getting hold of the right tools – the basics include tarpaulin, wire brush, a telescopic extender and a mirror. The most important tool is probably the wire brush, which is used to scrape soot off the inner walls of the chimney. The telescopic extender then helps you reach higher up into the chimney, whilst the mirror – attached to a flexible stick – enables you to see areas high up into the chimney.

Chimneys can be cleaned in two ways – from the inside or from the outside. Most people seem to prefer the indoor method, using their tools to reach through the entire chimney from the inside. However, you can also clean the chimney from the outside – from your roof. In this case, you will need a sturdy ladder to let you access the roof.

chimney sweep in wolverhampton 05-05-2015 17-55-04 250x269Time to call in the professionals?

While doing things yourself can undoubtedly save you money, there are times when it may be a better idea to relinquish the job to professionals. For example, if you cannot see far enough up your chimney to confirm if there is a blockage, then it would be best to leave things to a professional chimney sweep, as the risks of overlooking an obstruction can turn into a serious safety hazard.

 

Don’t forget also that the DIY route means that not only will have to clean the chimney yourself but also do all the routine maintenance, which is vital in keeping the chimney effective and safe. For example, you will need to examine fire backs regularly to see if they have been damaged by the fire and cracks have begun to appear. This is something that will always occur with time. The cracks will need to be patched up if they’re still small enough – otherwise the entire fire back may need to be replaced. Again, this is a job which can be done yourself, especially with the aid of a good DIY manual, but in many cases, it may be best left to a professional.

Don’t forget that the traditional image of a chimney sweep being a soot-covered child is definitely no longer true. Modern chimney sweeps are skilled professionals with the necessary training and experience to notice and prevent problems that can lead to chimney fires or inefficient fireplaces.

Chimney Sweep

chimney sweep wolverhampton 27-10-2015 06-18-12 268x188Hello and welcome to your local chimney sweep.

Lots of more people today are now searching for a local chimney sweep online. With so many chimney sweeps online, which do you choose? More importantly how do you know the chimney sweep you are looking for is the right one? To start with we will tell you when searching for a chimney sweep what to avoid. There are lots of local chimney sweeps about and lots of chimney sweeps online but there are a few things to note. You only want to use a chimney sweep who is registered with an organisation or governing body. Most legitimate chimney sweeps that you search for online will be a part of one.

chimney sweep in wolverhampton 05-05-2015 17-55-04 250x269One biggest and most trusted organisation a chimney sweep can be registered with is N.A.C.S (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) they ensure all chimney sweeps registered with them are trained to a high standard which involves an intensive 3 day course. Besides all their chimney sweeps being trained up they also ensure that each and every member carries full public liability insurance. Most chimney sweeps who advertise online will say they are insured, but not many are. Finally and most importantly when looking for a local chimney sweep online is to ensure they give you a legitimate certificate at the end. All N.A.C.S members are issued with these certificates to hand over to a customer when the job is complete. You may be thinking now, why when I have found a chimney sweep online do I need a certificate? The certificate will prove to your building insurance company that you have maintained and had your chimney swept by a trained a qualified chimney sweep. Another important topic to consider when choosing a chimney sweep either online or local is price. Chimney sweep prices can vary by area, however we have found that most chimney sweep prices by legitimate chimney sweeps tend to all revolve around the same kind of figure. Typically the standard rate for a chimney sweep to sweep your chimney will usually start at around £30.00 and should cost no more than £40.00. In our opinion any chimney sweep who is charging more than £40.00 is over charging the customer and any chimney sweep who is charging under £30.00 is obviously not doing the job as a living and therefore very unlikely trained or insured. However as with us at your local chimney sweep you will receive discounts if we are sweeping more than one chimney in your property at the same time. The simple reason for this is we are able to save money on fuel costs when travelling to and from jobs etc and also save on time, therefore we feel a discount to you is fair. As you have probably found when searching for a chimney sweep online or local, chimney sweep prices can be different. We feel though that if you do your research properly you should have no trouble at all choosing a chimney sweep who will know exactly what they are doing and who is able to leave the required paper work for your building insurance.

One thing you will notice that is different with your local chimney sweep to other chimney sweeps is that we are master members of N.A.C.S as with others who are just members. The big difference with your local chimney sweep being a master member is simple. Your local chimney sweep has received more advanced training at extra costs and have more experience within the industry. With so many different appliances out there and so many different chimneys (believe it or not chimneys don’t always just go up straight) we have shown through training and years of experience that we can sweep every different chimney out there and every appliance.

Biomass boilers are becoming increasingly popular these days. Do you know or have you seen a chimney sweep online advertise that they sweep these? We bet you haven’t. They are far more advanced to sweep and definitely require the extra knowledge to sweep effectively. Luckily though your local chimney sweep has an extensive knowledge and experience in sweeping biomass boilers.

We hope you have found this information useful when searching for your next chimney sweep online or a local chimney sweep. Further more we hope we have given you a good insight into chimney sweep prices. Hopefully we have shown you that your local chimney sweep is the right company for you to choose when looking for a chimney sweep, however if we haven’t we hope we have helped you in making the right choice when looking for a chimney sweep online.