© 2019 Wilkins Chimney Sweep

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Wilkins Chimney Sweep Limited

Trading Address: 13 Chaldicott Barns, Semley, Shaftesbury SP7 9AW

Registered Office: Swatton Barn, Badbury, Swindon, Wilts SN4 0EU

01793 741600 hello@team-dt.com

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Our Services

How often and why should you have your chimney swept?

The fire service recommends that in normal use, chimneys should be swept as follows (unless your insurance company or stove manufacturer declares otherwise):

  • Chimneys with solid fuel appliances: smokeless fuels at least once a year / domestic bituminous coal at least twice a year / woodburning every three months when in use.

  • Chimneys with gas appliances: once a year, plus they should be checked by a Gas Safe technician.

  • Chimneys with oil appliances: once a year, plus they should be checked by an OFTEC technician.

 

Birds often drop debris into the chimney, and some like to make it their home: sweeping ensures that your chimney flues remain clear and are safe to use, helping to guard against chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Please tell us if you think birds are nesting in your chimney as removing a nest is a much bigger job than just performing a sweep.

Chimney Sweeping

What happens when your sweep visits?

A sweep takes on average around half an hour per chimney, assuming no unexpected nests or blockages. We ask only that you prepare enough room for our equipment: the area in front of the fire needs to be clear, ideally allowing an area of 2 metres (6 feet) squared. 

 

After that, you can leave it all to us:

  • We will place sheets over and around the fireplace to protect the room. If soft furnishings or delicate objects are close to the fireplace, we'll ask you to please move or cover them

  • There is no need to cover all the furniture and surfaces in the room, our methods keep things as clean as possible - but if we are removing a nest, it's a good idea to cover any nearby electrical items

  • We require a live 13 amp socket to plug in our commercial vacuum cleaner

  • The sweep will then work at the fireplace using brushes, rods and the vacuum to remove soot and other debris from the chimney. All of our sweeps use traditional methods of brush and vacuum but some also use rotary (or power) sweeping systems. They will choose the best option for cleaning your flue.

  • We will leave the fireplace clear and clean – and the chimney safe to use

 

Sometimes a chimney can be swept through an external hatch in the chimney breast, but it will still be necessary to have access to the house to ensure that no debris falls into the fireplace and that no soot enters the room during the sweep.

What's the best time of year to have it done?

The best time to have a sweep is during the summer when you won’t want to use the fire. To ensure you’re up to date, we offer a reminder service and can arrange to contact you annually (or more frequently if required) to book your next visit from your local sweep.

If you have a woodburner, we are able to service your stove during our off-peak months only – and we must sweep the woodburner flue at the same time.

How much will it cost?

Charges vary locally and some seasonal and/or volume discounts are offered. Please check with your local Wilkins Chimney Sweep for charges and availability when booking.

Our sweeps are able to record any issues and will provide a certificate of sweeping by email upon payment.

Other Services

Nest and Blockage Removal

One of the first signs that something is making a home in your chimney is the presence of twigs or other ‘non-chimney’ debris in the fireplace. Jackdaws, squirrels, starlings and others like to nest in chimneys.

 

At worst, a blockage can be lethal, particularly if you have a gas or Parkray-type fire, because of the emission of carbon monoxide. The chimney of an open fire may become blocked, resulting in smoke entering the room or even a chimney fire.

If you think there is a blockage in your chimney, please call to discuss the problem. We can remove most blockages and can establish what has happened and advise on how to prevent it happening again.

Since there may be eggs or even hatched baby birds in a nest (which are protected), we will not remove nests during the breeding season (variable, but typically spring into early summer depending on the weather)  to ensure that the young have left the nest. You can find more information and advice from the RSPB here.

Cages, Caps & Cowls

These are items placed on chimneys to prevent nesting, protect against rain, prevent down draughts, guard against blockages causing carbon monoxide problems or to safeguard disused chimneys from birds and/or vermin.

Fitting the correct type of cage, cowl or cap is very important. Thanks to years of experience, our sweeps will assess the requirements and recommend the correct type for your particular situation.

Our sweeps usually have sample cowls in their vans to show you, and in most cases they will also be able to advise you on the cost. The price is affected by the property location, the type and number of cowls or cages required, but also by any potential access problems – we need to see the chimney location before we can confirm prices to you.

Gull Cages

We make bespoke gull protection to prevent gulls nesting between pots. This service is currently only offered in Swansea, The Gower, Newcastle and Tyneside. Give us a call to discuss the requirements and we can give an indication of the costs subject to size and access.

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) Surveys*

Occasionally a problem with a chimney or other dry cavity space occurs which can’t easily be seen. In some areas we are able to offer an inspection service that involves pushing a camera into the flue, in a similar fashion to sweeping the chimney.

This CCTV inspection can be very useful for assessing any damage when getting quotes for any remedial work, and for providing evidence for insurance or repair purposes.

* Not available in all areas

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

We recommend and can provide the Honeywell XC70 Carbon Monoxide Alarm which carries a six-year guarantee. They are sealed for life and therefore have no batteries or spare parts to replace.

Please be safe and have an alarm if you are using your fire or woodburner. For more information on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning see the Katie Haines Memorial Trust or the Health and Safety Executive Guidance.

Stove Thermometers

The temperature that your stove reaches is an important factor in overall performance and in the condition of the flue / chimney. Too hot and you’re wasting your money burning too much fuel; too cold and you risk the blackened glass and tarred up liner – and this is also a carbon monoxide issue. A thermometer shows you the optimum burning temperature and can save you money in the long-term. Our thermometers are magnetic, with an easy visual guide.

Woodburner Maintenance*

Woodburners are typically pretty robust but occasionally they need some repairs or maintenance. Additionally, if your woodburner is in a prominent position in your living space, you might like to have it properly cleaned and/or painted once you stop using it, ready for the next burning season. Please discuss this with your sweep but please note that we will only offer this service when sweeping the woodburner flue.

*Not available in all areas

Moisture Meters

Burning kiln-dried or well-seasoned wood will help prevent creosote (tar) deposits building up in the flue. Buying fuel from a reputable supplier and storing it correctly will usually be sufficient, but if you have any doubts about the wood that you have bought, you may find a moisture meter will help. This will tell you the percentage moisture content. Well-seasoned wood should contain between 20 and 25% moisture maximum, depending on the type. Your sweep has a meter with him to help you if required and these are also available for sale.

HotSpot Flue Free

If there are creosote (tar) deposits forming in your chimney flue, we recommend the use of a product called HotSpot Flue Free. It is described as a chimney cleaner but will, if used correctly, help to ‘crystallise’ and loosen creosote and heavy, long-term burnt-on soot deposits.

 

Your sweep carries a supply and will be happy to advise on how to use it to best effect.

And there's more...

Our sweeps also carry a number of other useful products, from stove equipment and accessories through to smoke test equipment. Feel free to ask them or us, whatever you need!

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