In the UK there are thousands of avoidable chimney fires every year, using a professional chimney sweep can help avoid becoming a fire statistic.

Between April 2021 and March 2022 there were 2,608 reported chimney fires in England.

Regardless of what type of chimney you have, even if it is lined, it will still need regular sweeping.

How often should you sweep a chimney?

We recommend you should get your chimney swept at least:

  • At least once a year for smokeless fuels
  • At least twice a year for bituminous coal
  • Quarterly when in use for wood

When should I get my chimney swept?

The best time to have your chimney swept is just before heating season or after your stove has not been used for a prolonged period of time. If your chimney requires sweeping twice a year, the second time should be after the peak of the heating season.

How is a chimney swept?

Modern chimney sweeps will have a range of tools at their disposal to ensure they have the right one for your chimney. There are two main recognised techniques for sweeping, the traditional method and power sweeping.

Professional chimney sweeps, use a variety of tools, including:

  • A range of rods and brushes/heads/whips
  • Bird nest removal tools
  • An industrial vacuum
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Respiratory Protective Equipment
  • Chimney Inspection Camera
  • Dust sheets – for the floor around the fireplace
  • Foam blocks
  • Creosote and tar removal kit
  • Flue draught kit
  • Smoke Pellets

Chimney sweeps may also have a range of repair and maintenance tools, such as heat rated sealant, rope, seals, right through to chimney cowls, and CO alarms – all to maintain the continued safety of the installation.

Will it make a mess?

All the equipment listed above will ensure your chimney sweep does a thorough and clean job. There shouldn’t be any mess for your to worry about. Some sweeps will take the waste away for you, others will collect the soot in a bag ready to be placed in your household waste.

Will a chimney sweep need to access the roof of my property?

Chimneys are usually swept from the fireplace, so there is usually no need for access to the roof. Your sweep will be able to advise if they need to sweep through your appliance or via an access hatch.

Can I use my fire before a chimney sweep?
It is advisable the fire or appliance is not used for several hours prior to the arrival of the chimney sweep.

Are chimney sweeps insured?

Professional chimney sweeps will hold insurance to cover the range of work they undertake.

How do I know if I need to book a chimney sweep?

Apart from regular, planned servicing and sweeping, there are some signs you need to stop using your appliance and book a chimney sweep.

These can include:

  • Smoke is coming back into the room when the appliance is in use
  • There is a bad smell even when you haven’t lit a fire
  • You can see signs of tar around the damper or flue entrance
  • Soot is falling back into your stove
  • Your fire isn’t burning as well as usual
  • If you think a nest may have fallen into the chimney

If in any doubt, please do not use your appliance until it has been checked by a professional.

The HETAS website is full of more useful advice on chimney safety and how to find a registered, professional sweep in your area. You can visit this here