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!
The Master Sweep
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