Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions but I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have. Just contact Dave using any of the contact options.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 and the build up of carbon monoxide. Cleaning will also 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 and type of chimney. I can advise you on sweeping frequency for your particular circumstances during my visit but see below for guidance.


Smokeless fuel       At least once a year, twice recommended 

Seasoned Wood     Twice a year, before and during burning season

Bituminous Coal   Quarterly, when in use 

Oil                         Once a year 

Gas                       Once a year 


For certain appliances there is a recommended fuel, which is the one that should be used.  In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting fuel. Wood that has been properly seasoned is commonly used as it is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. However, some people prefer using coal as it suits them better. If you are thinking of using coal, then we recommend you use a local approved coal merchant, who will have the expert knowledge to guide you.

Please remember that some areas of the UK are smoke free zones, which must also be taken into consideration when selecting fuel.

Does it make mess?

This is a very good question to ask when booking any sweep. I use a number of best practice techniques for preventing dust escapes including power sweep and vacuum method, with clean dust sheets used for every job.

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 that can affect chimney function and sweeping can solve or identify these. In countries such as Germany and France, 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.

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, then this soot can turn into a black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If the damp gets bad, then it can penetrate through the wall into the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls.

Why are there smoke marks just above my fireplace?

This may be caused by smoke leaking back into the room; contact me to seek advice as soon as possible.

A bird has come down my chimney, how do I prevent this happening again?

After carrying out an inspection to check for nests or blockages, I can advise you on the correct terminal or guard and fit this for you. It may be necessary to use additional equipment such as scaffolding or a cherry picker to gain access to your chimney, but these options will be discussed with you during my visit and if necessary.

What should I do to prepare for your visit?

Normally I will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. I may suggest you clear any ornaments from the hearth and mantelpiece and perhaps clear the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish etc. before I arrive. However I will discuss this with you before my visit.