Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Chimney Sweep?


The Cambridge Dictionary states a chimney sweep is “A person whose job it is to clean inside chimneys usually using a set of brushes with a very long handle”.

Most people associate chimney sweeping with the Victorian era.  With this comes the image of a soot-covered man from a poor background.  Chimney sweeping at this time was seen as a job for people who didn’t have any formal education.  Chimney sweeping in those days was extremely dangerous and involved climbing up the chimneys. The working day was from dusk til dawn and often small boys were used to assist in the cleaning process to access the narrower parts of the chimney.  Thankfully times have moved on and the modern chimney sweep is better trained, cleaner and use a comprehensive range of conventional and modern equipment such as CCTV cameras and HEPA filtered Vacuum cleaners.

Do Chimney Sweeps bring good Luck?

Chimney sweeps are still considered as symbols of luck for all who that encounter them.  In fact just over 100 years ago it was common place for men and women to bow and curtsy to the sweeps when they passed them in the streets. It is also said that chimney sweeps are considered as good luck at weddings and that the bride and groom would benefit from a great future if wished luck by a chimney sweep.

With this in mind our chimney sweeps will ask the customer to come and see the sweep's brush out of their chimney and make a wish. Make sure you don't tell anyone as your wish wont come true.

What is a Chimney Fire?

A chimney fire is the combustion or burning of residue deposits also known as soot or creosote on the inner surfaces of a chimney, chimney tiles, flue liners or stove pipes

Chimney fires are extremely dangerous and in severe cases chimney fires can destroy homes and put people's lives at risk. The figures from HETAS state that the total number of chimney fires between April 2022 to April 2023 was as 2608 with the period from January to March accounting for 40% of these. These tragedies are often preventable through some simple steps.

  • Regular inspections and sweeping of Chimneys
  • Burn only seasoned wood with a moisture level below 20 %
  • Appliance maintenance
  • Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house



Does Chimney Sweeping make a Mess?


Most people have seen films such as Mary Poppins where the Chimney Sweep is covered from head to toe in soot and puffs of smoke entering the house from the sweeping process.  This is not true of the modern professional accredited Chimney Sweep.

Methods have certainly moved on with Hepa filtered Vaccum cleaners, clean dustsheets plastic sheeting and disposable overshoes.

Your home will be left as we found it.


What is the Chimney Sweeping Process?


Upon our Sweeps prompt arrival, they will inspect the Chimney from outside your property ensuring you have the correct Chimney/Flue termination.  We will then knock the door and introduce themselves, our well presented Sweep will then take great care in the preparation of  your home before the commencement of the Chimney  Sweeping.  The Sweep will ensure that all carpets/floor coverings are covered and that any home is left as clean as when we entered it.  Our sweeps carry a huge number of the best protective sheeting on the market which will be placed from your front door to the fireplace opening. If this is unpractical our sweeps will use over shoes to protect your home.  The sheeting will also allow us to place our well used equipment on the floor without causing any damage.

Once our Sweep is happy that your property is well protected, the Sweep will then start inspecting inside of the Chimney/Flue which includes testing the draw on the Chimney.  Once they are happy it is safe to proceed the Sweep will seal the Chimney/Stove using adhesive tape and Denim Soot Socks.    Our Hepa rated Vacuum pipes will be sealed in the the Chimney/Stove in the aforementioned process, this will  then be turned on to assist in the removal of the soot from the Chimney/Flue.  This can be a little noisy.

Once our Sweep has pushed their brushes up and out of the Chimney pot you will be invited to come and make a wish.   In British folk law it is believed to be very good luck to see a Chimney Sweep's brush emerge out of the top of a Chimney/Flue.  Just make sure you don't tell anyone otherwise it may not come true!!

Once you have made your wish our Sweep will continue with the cleaning process.  Once our Sweep is happy your Chimney/Flue is safe and clean, they will conduct a smoke evacuation test to ensure the draw is sufficient.  The sweep will then clean their equipment away and issue a certificate of Chimney Sweeping that you will need for your home insurance

You will be left with a "Heat your Home Safely" Leaflet which promotes good practice in the use of Chimneys and Stoves.

Sometimes through our external and internal inspections our Sweep may identify issues.  Our Sweeps will endeavour to bring these to your attention at the earliest opportunities and discuss options available.

All soot that is removed from your Chimney will be taken away by our sweeps and disposed of responsibly


Our priority is to keep your Chimney clean and you and your family safe.



Do I need to make any preparations prior to the Chimney being swept?


There are a few thing s you will need to do prior to our arrival.


  • Please provide a clear unobstructed passage from the entry point to the fireplace (including moving any furniture out of the way)
  • Clear a round 2m x 2m space in front of your fireplace/s
  • Please ensure that your Stove or Fire has not been used for 12 hours before otherwise our brushed may melt!
  • Remove any delicate of fragile items on or near the fireplace/s
  • Please shut away pets whilst we are sweeping, we don’t want any dirty paw prints after your pets have crawled/brushed against our well used equipment
  • Ensure that there is an electrical socket easily accessible, we can use an extension lead if needed.



How Often should I get my Chimney Swept?


There are a number of factors that can influence how often your Chimney needs sweeping such as Type of Fuel, frequency and duration of usage, type of chimney.  The below sweeping frequencies are for guidance.


Wood                                Every three Months

Smokeless Fuels          At least once a year

Coal                                   At least twice a year

Oil                                      Once a year

Gas                                    Once a year


Many homeowners clean their chimneys themselves however please don’t, put the hoover down and employ a professional  accredited Chimney Sweep.  Professional Chimney sweeps are the only people who should be getting up inside there.

Churchleys Chimneys are a trading name of Churchleys Limited

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