Why should I use a Guild Registered Chimney Sweep?
Guild sweeps undertake an extensive training and assessment process. Training is based around the most comprehensive training manual in the UK. Guild membership requires members to be insured for Chimney Sweeping and equipped to deal with all standard job situations. Because the Guild is owned equally by all its members it can act like a co-operative, sharing information and solving customer problems. In the unlikely event your Guild sweep is unable help you, they should be able to recommend someone who can.
Does it make mess?
This is a very good question to ask when booking any sweep. The answer should be - very rarely. Guild sweeps are able to draw on the collective knowledge of the whole organisation and have a number of best practice techniques for preventing dust escapes. A rare exception may be when the chimney is blocked with a bird’s nest when it is sometimes difficult to contain all dust.
What should I do to prepare for the sweep’s visit?
Ask your sweep this question when booking. In general they will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. Clear ornaments from the hearth and perhaps from the mantelpiece. In particular, clear the grate of any fuel / ash / rubbish as cleaning up before they start is a pet hate of most sweeps.
Do I need to have my gas/oil flues swept?
Yes. Although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot there are numerous other problems which can affect chimney function and sweeping can solve or identify these. In countries such as Germany, where sweeping all chimneys and flues is a legal requirement, the number of carbon monoxide poisonings and chimney fires are a fraction of the UK.
How much does it cost to have my chimney swept?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously though, there are different types of appliance or chimney and the cost will vary. Some jobs may take longer to complete properly so expect to pay more if extra time is necessary. If you are comparing prices of different sweeps try to make sure you are comparing like for like. Guild sweeps can often supply expert advice on fuels and how to get the best out of your stove or fire. This advice alone could save you more than the cost of a sweep over the course of a burning season. Prices average around £50 per sweep.
I have a problem with my fireplace/stove/chimney.
In the UK there is a general lack of knowledge concerning all aspects of solid fuels, solid fuel appliances and their associated chimneys. Problems are therefore not uncommon and it can be difficult to get qualified, independent advice. Guild sweeps are trained to high standards and are usually conversant with the complexities of solid fuel heating and venting systems and the associated building regulations.
I’ve just moved house – do I need to have my chimney cleaned?
Yes! A chimney fire isn’t the kind of housewarming you want.
What is the best fuel to use?
For certain appliances, there is a recommended fuel, and this is the one you should use. In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. As a general fuel we recommend wood. It is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. However, at the end of the day, some people don’t get on with wood and find coal suits them better. If you are looking at coal, find your local approved coal merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you.
Why do I need to sweep a chimney before it is closed off?
If a chimney is closed off, it can get a bit damp. If there is and soot up there, then this soot can turn to a black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If bad enough this damp can penetrate through to the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls.
Why are there smoke marks just above the fireplace?
This is because smoke is leaking back into the room; call your local Guild Sweep and seek their advice.
A bird has come down my chimney, how do I stop this from happening again?
Seek the advice of your local Guild Sweep who will be able to advise you on a suitable terminal/guard for your chimney.
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