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Frequently asked questions

How often should I have my chimney swept?

This depends on several factors depending on the type of fuel used, appliance, useage and the moisture content of the wood being used. These are general guidelines only, and I can advise you more during the sweep. 

                                                                Smokeless fuel:  At least once a year

                                                                                    Wood:  Quarterly when in use

                                                              Bituminous coal:  Quarterly when in use 

                                                                                           Oil:  Once a year 

                                                                                         Gas:  Once a year

How is the chimney swept?

We start off with a visual inspection of the flue, then seal your fireplace opening before we clean your chimney using the latest Rodtech Power Sweeping Equipment. An industrial hepa filtered vacuum collects the soot (keeping dust to an absolute minimum). After sweeping we conduct a Smoke Test (in accordance with current Building Regulations & British Standards) by putting a smoke pellet in the opening to check the draw of the chimney, and make sure the smoke is coming out of the chimney correctly. We then issue an Insurance industry-recognised Certificate of Sweeping. 

We always recommend our customers to see the brush come out of the chimney because this ensures the full length of the chimney has been swept and it is also considered 'good luck'

This ensures there is no build up of soot that could cause a chimney fire or resin from burning wood and logs.

Carbon monoxide, if your chimney is blocked (weather fully or partially) or is not drawing properly you are at risk of poisonous fumes from burning - coal, wood, gas or oil.

 No mess, No dust, No fuss! 

Why is it important to have my chimney swept?

There is nothing better than relaxing in front of your fire or wood-burner with the peace of mind that it is safe to use.  A clean chimney is a safer chimney.

There are several reasons why you should have your chimney/flue regularly swept.

•  To satisify insurance company requirements

your insurance might be invalid

Many insurance companies will require you to have your chimney swept by a professional chimney sweep to keep your insurance valid in case of a fire, and will not pay out for damage caused by a chimney fault fire to your home, unless it has been regularly swept and maintained by a professional chimney sweep. As a registered chimney sweep I will issue a valid certificate recognised by the insurance companies.

• To protect your health (CO2)

When using a fuel burning appliance carbon monoxide is produced, especially if the appliance is not burning correctly or the smoke/fumes are not able to exit correctly through the chimney/flue. This can cause serious illness and be fatal to everyone in the home including pets

•  To avoid a chimney fire

You are in danger of a chimney fire if it is not regularly swept, as creosote build-ups will occur (tarring of the chimney).  Chimney fires cause both damage to property and risk to life.

•  To extend the life of your appliance

Soot builds up inside your chimney/flue whenever you light your fire.  If not cleared regularly it can drastically reduce the size of the flue (preventing fumes escaping), and also reduce the lifespan of the flue itself, meaning more cost to you.

How do I know if I have a bird nest?

Usually the best way to know if your chimney has a nest is if there is smoke coming back into the room in which you have lit the fire.  This normally indicates that there is something blocking the chimney and quite often this will be a bird’s nest.

A more obvious way of guessing if there is a bird’s nest in your chimney, is if you can hear birds.  Often they may just be sat on top but sometimes they may be building a nest or planning on building one inside it.

If you are finding twigs and leaves falling into your fireplace then it is likely that they are being put there by a bird trying to build a nest.  

If you see birds moving back and forth from your chimney pot, it is likely that they are starting to build a nest.  The birds will be collecting small branches and leaves which they will then bring back to the chimney to build a nest with.

Due to the wildlife & country act 1981, it is an offence to remove, destroy or damage a nest of any wild bird whilst it is being built or in use and could result in a fine of£5000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

Nests should only be removed between the months of September - March. Unless the fire is your only form of heating, then special permission can be applied for.

What is a cowl and why would I need one?

A cowl, also known as a terminus, is what is put on top of a chimney to reduce rainfall within the chimney and to stop birds from nesting. There are many different types and some are better than others. Insert cowls, (ones that go inside the chimney pot) should never be used on live fires/appliances and should only be used for inert fires and appliances. They are for ventilation only!

There are also ones to help reduce downdraught problems which I can advise you on.

Below are examples of unsuitable cowls/terminus for live chimneys



There are a number of reasons why you should consider a CCTV survey.

It is a quick way of identifying any problems with your chimney,

If required we will leave you with the footage and detailed survey of any issues found, ideal if you are a landlord or you are selling your property.

It gives you the knowledge to decide whether or not you can safely use your chimney.

If you have just bought a house and want to make sure your chimney is safe to use.

Your chimney has a blockage that cannot be removed by sweeping alone.

You have decided to reinstate an old flue.

Fireplace Safety

                                                              Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

                                Always have your chimney swept by a specialist – according to current guidelines

                                   Make sure you use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers.

                                            Always fully extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

                                     Store logs away from solid fuel burners – radiated heat can cause them to burn.

                                                   Keep clothing and fabric well away from open fires and log burners. 

                                    Watch out for children and pets – supervise them carefully, and use fire guards. 

       Don’t burn wood that’s been treated with anything, and try to resist throwing any rubbish on there as well.

             You should install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the same room as your fireplace.                                                                                            They should be checked once a month.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide fumes are silent and  highly poisonous

You can't taste, see or smell CO fumes, but it can kill in minutes.  It's vital to know the symptoms of poisoning – if you don't have an alarm, it may be your only warning. 



Nausea or vomiting



Loss of consciousness


These symptoms also apply to your pets – so keep an eye on them too.  It's also really important to spend a few pounds on a Carbon Monoxide alarm. Poisoning symptoms can easily be confused with just feeling unwell, which is why CO poisoning is so dangerous, and so often missed.

If you suffer any of these symptoms it is important you

What to do if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning or if your CO alarm sounds

                                                            Open doors and windows to ventilate your home if possible.

        If you are able to do so safely, switch off your appliances.

                                                                                Get outside into the fresh air quickly.

                If someone is showing signs of poisoning or has collapsed, get them outside, call 999 and ask for an                                                                                                                    ambulance.

         If you suspect poisoning, always seek immediate medical advice. See your doctor or go to hospital – let                                 them know that you suspect CO poisoning, they can do a blood or breath test to check.

       Before you return to your home it is very important to call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 and                                                                                    tell them what has happened.

                               You may need an engineer to inspect your appliances and flues to check that all is well. 

What to do if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning or if your CO alarm sounds

Open doors and windows to ventilate your home if

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