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.
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.