This page is dedicated to answering the questions that many customers have when it comes to having their chimney swept and using it correctly.

Why do I need to have my chimney/flue 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 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 when it is sometimes difficult to contain all dust.

What should 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. 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.

Why do I need to see the brush out the top of the chimney?
To demonstrate to you that the flue has been swept throughout its length, and that the sweep has done his work properly.

How much does it cost to have my chimney swept?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously though, there are 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. Guild sweeps can often supply expert advice on fuels and how to get the best out of your stove or fire. This advice alone could save you more than the cost of a sweep over the course of a burning season.

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.

Ive just moved house do I need to have my chimney cleaned?
Yes! A chimney fire isnt the kind of housewarming you want.

What is the best fuel to use?
For certain appliances, there is a recommended fuel, and this is the one you should use. In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. As a general fuel we recommend wood. It is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. However, at the end of the day, some people dont get on with wood and find coal suits them better. If you are looking at coal, find your local approved coal merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you.

Why do I need to sweep a chimney before it is closed off?
If a chimney is closed off, it can get a bit damp. If there is and soot up there, then this soot can turn to a black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If bad enough this damp can penetrate through to the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls.

Why are there smoke marks just above the fireplace?
This is because smoke is leaking back into the room; call your local Guild Sweep and seek their advice.

A bird has come down my chimney, how do I stop this from happening again?
Seek the advice of your local Guild Sweep who will be able to advise you on a suitable terminal/guard for your chimney.

If I am already a chimney sweep, why would I want to join the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps?
The Guild is owned equally by all its members and this results in a very co-operative organisation. We are very much one for all and all for one, the newest member having the same share and voting rights as the oldest. You will have the opportunity to pick the best techniques, skills and business and as part of your membership you will be promoted on the Guild website and on Yell.com. You can issue Guild certificates which will benefit you and your customers. A group of likeminded individuals is always more powerful than your lone voice.

If I would like to train to be a chimney sweep, how can the Guild help me?
You will have access to all the benefits mentioned above. In addition to the mandatory training course you will enter the Guilds Passport Training System. Under this system the novice sweep will train with experienced members for a minimum period. There is no maximum and you can call upon many members for further on-going training at no extra cost. As well as receiving the best practical training, you will have the opportunity to question experienced sweeps on the promotion and running of their business. We want to see you succeed. Its a bit like buying a franchise but at a fraction of the cost. read more>>

Do I need to purchase sweeping equipment for the Training Programme?
No, we actually advise our trainees to wait until after the course to purchase equipment. Throughout the course we will be providing you with information on the equipment we would advise you to purchase along with other information such as advantages, disadvantages, when to use a certain piece of equipment and when not to. You will be required to use your own equipment to pass your final assessment which is some time after the course; you will have plenty of time to purchase the equipment in between your training programme and your assessment date.
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