How I sweep a chimney stack
To start with from the outside of your property I check the chimney stack. This enables me to ascertain the condition of the chimney pot and allows me to estimate the height of the chimney which will give me an idea as to how many rods will be required to reach the top. I also check to see if any cowls or bird guards are fitted as these will prevent the brush from exiting the chimney. Then inside your property in front of the fireplace or standalone stove I initially lay plastic sheeting and follow this with a cloth sheet on top. This is to protect any carpets or flooring from dust and soot. I also move or cover any furniture and valuables in the close proximity.
Once this is done I visually inspect the inside of the fireplace and as far up the chimney stack as is humanly possible. I am then able to decide the type, thickness and size of brushes and rods to use to clean the chimney stack/flue. I will then set about bringing in all the tools and chimney sweep equipment that I will need to sweep your chimney; chimney sweep brushes, chimney sweeping rods, industrial vacuum, etc. Once I have everything I need for the sweep I sheet up and seal the actual fireplace or stove, this prevents falling soot and dust from escaping into the room.
Open fireplace vs stove sweeping
For regular chimneys with open fireplaces I use firm rods with large traditional brushes, however for stoves and liners, flexible rods and smaller brushes are used to sweep. With the brush fitted to the first rod, and the industrial vacuum in place and turned on, I start to sweep the chimney. I continually work the brush and add rods as I go until I reach the top of the stack/flue. I then reverse the operation and lower the brush down removing one rod at a time. I will repeat this procedure as many times as is required.
When I feel sure that no more soot is falling and that the chimney is thoroughly clean I stop sweeping and carefully remove the rods and brush. The vacuum will have caught a lot of the soot as it falls, however most debris will have collected on the fireplace hearth or on the bottom of the stove. I then use the vacuum to clean the area and pride myself in leaving your fireplace spotless. Prior to removing the seal and coverings I will inspect the inside of the fireplace and stack, or stove and liner to ensure that all is clean. With the sweep complete and all kit removed I then provide you with a Chimney Sweeping Certificate which details the work completed and any issues or problems that have become evident from my sweep. If you use a combustible appliance most insurance companies require proof of at least an annual sweep. It is also a common and responsible duty of either landlord or tenants depending on contract. I am always keen to advise and willing to offer hints and tips. I pride myself on being very thorough and very tidy, leaving you with no mess.
You are now free to sit back and enjoy your fire content in the knowledge that all is clean, safe and working efficiently.
HETAS recommends that chimneys undergo an annual inspection and cleaning to ensure that it is kept in good condition, fit and safe for purpose. Without regular cleaning, soot and creosote residue can build up, which is one of the major causes of chimney fires. It can also lead to damage, cracks & holes, which could reduce the extraction capabilities and allow hazardous gases and fumes to enter your home.