"The Good Fuel Guide is the essential handbook for getting the most out of your fireplace or stove. It includes information on operating and maintaining your fire, looking after your chimney and choosing the right fuels.
Selecting the right fuel and burning it in the right way is essential for safety and efficiency.
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps (The UK’s best trained sweeps) have teamed up nationwide with CPL Distribution (The UK’s largest distributer of solid fuel) to create “The Good Fuel Guide” to raise awareness and safety in the solid fuel industry.
This great little handbook is full of loads of information on solid fuels, selecting the correct fuel for your fire or appliance, a list of HETAS approved fuels, lighting and operating your fire or appliance safely and efficiently and proper maintenance intervals for your appliance & chimney.
When you book a service with 'The Master Sweep' or 'Survey & Sweep' not only are you guaranteed a service of the highest standards available but you will also receive a free copy of this very useful handbook along with a voucher for 20% off your first order with CPL Distribution.
Filmed at the SureFire Centre - Derby: Iain Stevens shows an example of a chimney cowl that is commonly in use but should NEVER be used on a live chimney as it greatly reduces the flue size. This makes it more difficult for the toxic gasses to escape causing a backup of harmful fumes and a much higher risk of chimney fire due to soot & tar buildup in the chimney. These cowls are ONLY for ventilation of flues that are not in use...
I am posting this because price is a very important factor to many customers and I am coming across some extremely dangerous situations on a daily basis due to poorly trained sweeps.
There are many ‘Cheap Sweeps’ advertised on the internet and in local shops and at first glance they may seem like a bargain. I would warn buyer beware and here are some reasons why:
A good Chimney sweep will be certified and have undertaken many professional training courses which are expensive.
Proper chimney sweeping equipment is very expensive. For example an H rated chimney sweeping vacuum will cost close to £900.00 and is absolutely essential as the VOC`s in soot are carcinogenic.
A Henry hoover is NOT a sweep’s vac and there is no such thing as a vacuum only method of sweeping. There is also value attached to clean dust sheets, brushes that actually sweep etc.
An untrained or poorly trained chimney sweep will not understand the risks associated with carbon monoxide which is produced in abundance in solid fuel appliances. (35% of all deaths from CO are now the fault of solid fuel).
There are only 2 official chimney sweeping organisations signed up to the chimney sweeping industry standard, The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and the NACS. Is the cheap sweep a member of these? There are chimney sweeps using the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps logo who are not members – always check they are a registered on the Guild’s website.
There are so called chimney sweeping courses on the market which run for only two days and claim that you will be competent in this time. Common sense dictates that any profession is not learned overnight and
some pity should go to those suckered into parting with their hard earned money to go on these charlatan courses.
Will the soot be removed safely with the proper equipment or will this carcinogenic (cancer forming) product be left in your home?
Proper insurance carries an expense. If your house is damaged or someone is hurt who will pay?
If it is a brand new company that you wish to employ, will they still be around when something goes wrong?
The question is, can a person skilfully sweep your chimney with very little or no mess? Can they give professional advice on safety, burning cycle, fuel type and leave you with a legal industry standard certificate? Has the carcinogenic soot been safely removed? Most importantly will they leave you feeling safe in your home? If so then you have probably received good value for money whatever you have paid.
In summary there are plenty of cheap options but not so many professional chimney sweeps because the costs of running a legitimate and professional company are higher than that of your ‘cheap sweep’.
The recommended sweeping/servicing frequency for closed appliances burning wood is up to four times annually and if burning smokeless fuels twice annually as a minimum. Strange as it may seem you can actually have more build up in the chimney from fewer fires. The reason for this is that each time the fire is lit the flue is cold, which will cause the gasses to cool more quickly in the flue and increase the deposits on the liner. When a chimney has warmed over a few days use and is used regularly the chimney never fully cools down so the gasses exit quicker reducing build up in the liner. I have seen cases where a stove has only been used 10 times over the winter but has more build up in it than a stove that’s had 100 fires. Also it is not advisable to leave deposits in stainless steel liners as soot is very acidic and starts to disintegrate the steel quite quickly. This can greatly reduce the useful life of the liner resulting in expensive repairs.
I would never advise leaving a stove for a year even if it has had little use, it is surprising how quickly things can build up!
Here is a short video that is worth a watch to demonstrate what can
I hope that’s helpful!
It is ESSENTIAL that the wood you burn on your open fire or in your wood burner / multi-fuel stove is properly seasoned (ideally for 2yrs) or kiln dried. Many of the sacks of logs you can pick up at garages, local shops or roadside vendors you will notice are quite weighty to lift - HIGH MOISTURE CONTENT! This is a false economy as it will not burn effectively and will coat the inside of your chimney or flue/liner with creosote (it is also dangerous as burning wet wood can produce high levels of Carbon Monoxide!). It is extremely acidic and if left to build up over time breaks down the mortar in your chimney, gradually destroying the chimney stack. It will also erode stainless steel greatly reducing the life of your liner/fluepipe. Creosote is extremely difficult to remove and HIGHLY flammable - hence the large number of chimney fires in Cornwall!
This is why if you are buying wood - buy wisely!!!!
(Please see below the link to a video explaining moisture content.)
Also be careful to avoid burning treated wood due to the harmful effects of the chemicals used.
Remember to get your chimney/flue swept regularly and your appliances checked and serviced by a CERTIFIED Chimney Sweep - http://guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk/.
Safety is key and nothing is more dangerous than fire!!!
The Master Sweep
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