Why do you need a chimney sweep? Well, on the simplest level you need to get a sweep in regularly in order to remove the build-up of the products of combustion, as well as spider webs, bird’s nests and assorted chimney debris that can build up in an unswept chimney. A build-up of such materials can obstruct the flow of flue gases up the chimney, even causing them to spill out into the room, to the detriment of your health. Flue gases contain carbon monoxide, and persistent low levels can damage your health quite insidiously, while high levels are a serious risk to life and limb.
Soot is flammable, and it goes without saying that a fire in a chimney, especially older properties, can cause structural damage, even spreading beyond the flue. In the event of a chimney fire, it is advisable to call the Fire Brigade. Regular sweeping of your chimney will make it much safer, and put your mind at rest. Your chimney sweep will be able to advise you on the correct frequency.
The sweep will be able to remove this debris for you cleanly and safely, leaving your flue to function as it was designed, taking the products of combustion away from the confined living space and venting them safely into the atmosphere where they present no risk to anyone.
Above all, make sure that your chimney sweep is properly trained, qualified, and a member of a reliable professional organisation. This ensures that your sweep has been properly trained, and has had to demonstrate competence to a nationally recognised standard, and not an in-house qualification which can be lacking.
If there is a problem with your chimney, your sweep will be able to identify it and bring it to your attention, as well as advising you on the correct course of action to deal with it. Sadly, not everyone has this degree of knowledge, and we see a great deal of money wasted where the wrong solution has been offered for a given problem. Some solutions are also less effective, and your chimney really needs correct diagnosis and treatment.
A properly qualified sweep will also be able to advise you on the correct type of fuel for your appliance, and the best way to store it. There are useful little tricks with lighting and running a fire that your sweep will be able to pass onto you.
A professional sweep will also have a wide range of equipment covering all eventualities, so no matter what the chimney size, shape or type, they will have the best tools for the job. This will include the equipment needed to handle the soot and remove it safely and cleanly.