Why does my chimney need sweeping?

Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gases. Regular sweeping will remove soot, birds nests, cobwebs and any other blockages that may occur. It also removes creosote, which is an extremely flammable substance, and will help to prevent against dangerous chimney fires. Sweeping will also increase the efficiency of some appliances.


How often does my chimney need sweeping?

The frequency will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, type of appliance, duration of use, moisture content of wood, (seasoned wood should have a moisture content below 20%) and the type of chimney you may have. A general guide is:

  • Smokeless fuels: At least once a year
  • Coal: At least twice a year
  • Wood: Quarterly during use
  • Gas: Once a year
  • Oil: Once a year

Why use Surrey Sweep?

I have undertaken a rigorous training course and have successfully completed a full assessment prior to obtaining a City & Guilds qualification.

I hold valid insurance for Chimney Sweeping and, upon completion of a sweep, issue you with a certificate which you are able to show to your household insurance providers.

With 9 years experience in the Fire Service and have extensive knowledge of fire safety and prevention.

I also use the most modern chimney sweeping equipment and the latest cleaning techniques. The vacuum I use is specifically designed for the job and has a high-level Hepa filter which provides an incredibly clean result. Air exiting the vacuum is actually cleaner than the air in the room, and every effort is made to ensure your sweep is the cleanest you have ever had.


How do I know if my chimney needs sweeping?

Never leave it too late to have your chimney swept. As a rule, look out for the following advanced warnings:

  • Specks of soot dropping into the fireplace.
  • Tar deposits visible in the chimney or stove as well as a strong odour coming from the fireplace.
  • Draught or smoking problems with the chimney.
  • If you have moved into a new house and want to use the chimney.
  • Animals nesting (squirrels and birds) which can cause fire hazards.

Will it make a mess?

Every effort is made to prevent dust escaping during sweeping and clean dust sheets are used for every job. There are, however, exceptional circumstances, e.g. if a chimney is blocked with a birds nest, which make it difficult to guarantee that no mess will be made.

People tend to envisage that the nest will be quite small, like the traditional birds’ nests that you see in trees. The fact is that birds that like to nest in chimneys will drop quite large twigs down the chimney until one catches at an angle or bend in the chimney. They will then continue to drop twigs, filling up the chimney until the twigs reach the height that they want to build the nest. This is often near the top and so it is highly likely that your chimney will be severely, if not totally blocked by the nest.


How should I prepare for the chimney sweep’s arrival?

Sweeps need space to work so just make sure that the area in front of the fireplace is clear. Any hot ash should also be removed the night before. Perhaps you could clear the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish, etc. before I arrive, and move away any hearth furniture and companion sets.


Do I need to have my gas/oil flues swept?

Yes. Although burning these fuels do not normally deposit soot, there are numerous other problems which can affect the chimneys function, which sweeping can solve or identify. It will also help with the prevention of chimney fires and even carbon monoxide poisoning.


I have birds nesting in my chimney. What should I do?

They are probably jackdaws or starlings. Don’t worry, the good news is that they will grow up and fly away in just a few weeks. All the nesting material can be removed once they have left the chimney and a bird guard fitted to stop them returning.


Why do I need my chimney swept before it is closed off?

If a chimney is closed off it can become damp. If there is soot in your chimney it can turn into a black acidic slurry that can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. It can penetrate through walls into the room where it can cause unpleasant stains.


What causes smoke to come into the room?

There are various reasons why this happens. There could be an air pressure issue where the wind blows in a certain direction. Your chimney pot may not be at a suitable height, or the ventilation within the room may be inadequate. Cold chimneys may also need to be warmed up before they work well.