Frequently asked questions
Q: How should I prepare for the chimney sweep’s arrival?
A: Sweeps need space to work. So just make sure the area in front of the fireplace is clear. Any hot ash should also be removed the night before. Empty ashes from the grate and other debris, and move away any hearth furniture and companion sets. James the Sweep always brings fresh, clean sheets to use for every single job.
Q: What happens to the soot?
A. Soot used to be very valuable to sweeps! People would buy it for farming. Once I have unbagged the soot from the vacuum, I can either dispose of the soot myself or leave it with you to give your plants and vegetables a boost in the garden!
Q: How do I know if my chimney needs sweeping?
A. 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 just moved into a new home and want to use the chimney. - Animals nesting (squirrels and birds) which can cause fire hazards.
Q: Can I have a fire the night before a chimney sweep arrives?
A. You can have a fire in any open fireplace or stove but please remove all hot ash before James the Sweep gets there. Rayburns, Agas and boilers should be turned off or put out at least 24 hours before James the Sweep the sweep arrives as they take a long time to cool down. If you’re unsure about your appliance, call me (James the Sweep) and I can advise you.
Q: Do I need to have my chimney swept if I have a gas fire?
A. Blockages in chimneys connected to gas fires can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. Although this happens less frequently, it is wise to get professional advice from James the Sweep about how often your chimney should be swept.
Q: I have birds nesting in my chimney. What should I do?
A. They are probably jackdaws or starlings. Don’t worry though – the good news is the cheeky little chaps 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.
Q: Sometimes I get smoke in the room. What causes this?
A. There are various reasons why this happens. You might have an air pressure zone around the chimney when the wind blows in a certain direction or the ventilation in the room is inadequate. Cold chimneys located on outside walls need to warm up before they work well. James the Chimney Sweep is an experienced technician who can identify the problem after an inspection and recommend a cost-effective solution.
Q: How often should my chimney be cleaned?
A. People ask me that question more than any other! The answer depends on what fuel is used in your chimney:-
- Smokeless coals: At least once per year
- Wood: Once per season when in use
- Bitumous coal: Twice per year
- Oil: Once per year
- Gas: Once per year
Q: Why does my chimney need sweeping? Is it really necessary?
A. Yes – for safety reasons, if nothing else. Sweeping your chimney will stop the build-up of creosote and soot which reduces the danger of chimney fires and other risks such as soot falls and blockages.
A typical sweep can also deal with obstructions such as birds’ nests, soot falls and building debris. Leaves and cobwebs can also be removed. A smoke draw test happens during all chimney sweeps – at no extra charge.
James the Chimney Sweep provides customers with tailor-made expert advice on all aspects of chimney care; including your fireplace, flue, terminal and ventilation needs. This information will help you heat your home safely and efficiently with minimal impact on the environment.
Q: What areas does James the sweep cover?
A: Please see our Services and rates page for a list of postcode areas that we cover.
Q: What are James the Chimney Sweep’s rates?
A. The rates charged are affordable and reviewed regularly to give customers the best value for service. A standard sweep for woodburning stoves and fires costs £60. That price includes a full sweep, a smoke test and a certificate issue recognised by the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps. Fresh dust sheets are used on every sweep. Generous discounts apply for multiple sweeps in the same location. Contact me for more details.