FAQ’s and Landlords
Why do I need to have my Chimney Flu swept ?
Chimneys need to allow free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, helping prevent dangerous chimney fires. Cleaning will increase the efficiency of some appliances. Bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages will be removed.
How often does my chimney need sweeping?
The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: Type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney. Your Guild sweep will be able to advise on sweeping frequency during the appointment, the sweeping frequencies below are for guidance.
- Smokeless fuel: At least once a year
- Wood: Quarterly when in use
- Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use
- Oil: Once a year
- Gas: Once a year
Why should I use a Guild registered Chimney Sweep?
Guild sweeps undertake an extensive training and assessment process. Training is based around the most comprehensive training manual in the UK. Guild membership requires members to be insured for Chimney Sweeping and equipped to deal with all standard job situations. Because the Guild is owned equally by all its members it can act like a co-operative, sharing information and solving customer problems. In the unlikely event your Guild sweep is unable help you, they should be able to recommend someone who can.
Does it make a mess?
This is a very good question to ask when booking any sweep. The answer should be very rarely. Guild sweeps are able to draw on the collective knowledge of the whole organisation and have a number of best practice techniques for preventing dust escapes. A rare exception may be when the chimney is blocked with a birds nest; it is sometimes difficult to contain all dust in this circumstance.
What can I do to prepare for the sweeps visit?
Ask your sweep this question when booking. In general they will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. You may wish to clear ornaments from the hearth and perhaps from the mantelpiece. In particular, clear the grate of any fuel / ash / rubbish as cleaning up before they start is a pet hate of most sweeps.
Do I need to have my Gas / Oil flues swept ?
Yes. Although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot there are numerous other problems which can affect chimney function and sweeping can solve or identify these. In countries such as Germany, where sweeping all chimneys and flues is a legal requirement, the number of carbon monoxide poisonings and chimney fires are a fraction of the UK.
How much will the chimney sweep cost ?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously though, there are so many different types of appliance or chimney and the cost will vary. Some jobs may take longer to complete properly so expect to pay more if extra time is necessary. If you are comparing prices of different sweeps try to make sure you are comparing like for like. Cost may also vary in different parts of the country.
Landlords Responsibility ?
Landlords / agents are not allowed to put a clause in a tenancy agreement stating that the tenant is responsible for maintaining solid fuel heating systems as this is described as a unfair contract term(Office of fair trading 2005). So you cannot get your tenant to discharge your duty of care for you (Unless a court order has been issued).
Should a chimney fire occur then thousands of pounds could be lost in damage and loss of earning potential while the house is repaired. Not to mention any claim that a tenant may make.
If the landlord looks after a solid fuel appliance then they would have discharged their duty of care towards their tenants and would be keeping their own property safe from unnecessary fire risks and unwanted legal claims.
Remember as a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenant/s, and as such blocked flues that subsequently cause death could result in the landlord being tried for criminal negligence or in extreme cases a manslaughter prosecution may arise.
What if I have a problem with my Fireplace / Stove /Chimney?
In the UK there is a general lack of knowledge concerning all aspects of solid fuels, solid fuel appliances and their associated chimneys. Problems are therefore not uncommon and it can be difficult to get qualified, independent advice. Guild sweeps are trained to high standards and are usually conversant with the complexities of solid fuel heating and venting systems and the associated building regulations.
Carbon Monoxide and solid fuel
Many people think that carbon monoxide only comes from gas appliances but the truth is that ANY fuel that burns creates carbon monoxide. The Guild Of Master Chimney Sweeps has published a leaflet to raise awareness of the dangers of solid fuel related carbon monoxide poisonings
Click here to view the Carbon Monoxide safety flyer