Having your chimney swept at least once a year is vital. But in the last 12 months, some have been putting it off, due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Some of this is down to the misapprehension that chimney sweeps aren’t allowed to enter homes. That is not, and has never been, the case.
Sweeps, like other tradespeople, have never been banned from carrying out our important work.
In fact, there’s a good few reasons why our work is essential. Here’s five of them…
Heavier Usage Than Normal
Unlike previous years, 2020 has seen an unprecedented amount of people working from home, or being at home longer than normal. So fireplaces have been used more – and that means they desperately need a sweep.
This is the case for all types of appliances – wood, coal, gas and oil. All of which are served by chimneys which need cleaning and inspecting.
Prior to last year, an annual sweep would suffice for many. But some regulars I’ve been attending recently could really have done with a mid season sweep.
In short, some of the chimneys I’ve seen recently were massively overdue, because frequency of usage has changed.
So the need for a sweep is now needed more.
‘Primary Heat Source’ – Changing Habits
Linked to the previous point, I’m coming across more people switching off their central heating and using their fireplace.
This is largely down to two reasons; cost and efficiency.
In these uncertain times, people are wary about the gas meter dial whirring round all day. They want to burn the fuel they’ve already purchased, rather than spend more.
Also, people have mostly been confining themselves to one room. So instead of heating an entire house, they’ve been turning the central heating off in favour of warming one room with their stove, woodburner, open fire or gas fire.
Greater Risk of Chimney Fires
Build up of soot can cause chimney fires. This is because soot is flammable. The more soot in the chimney, the greater the chance of a chimney fire.
Chimney fires are not only scary and dangerous, they put avoidable pressure on our front line public services at a time when we need them to focus on battling Covid.
As the old saying goes “prevention is better than cure…”
January-March time always sees an increase in chimney fires, even in ‘normal’ times.
Don’t become a statistic. Book in a sweep.
Increased Carbon Monoxide Risk
Did you know wood and coal fires have the capacity to create more parts per million of carbon monoxide (CO) than gas?
Having your flue swept helps reduce that risk, not just by removing soot from the flue, but ensuring your appliance is functioning correctly.
That’s not to say that gas appliances don’t need sweeping. Many of these are very neglected and build ups or cobwebs and debris can also cause CO blockages.
Professional chimney sweeps undertake a range of checks to assess your risk of exposure to CO, and this is usually done as part of the sweeping process. Yet another reason why sweeps are essential.
It’s Official Advice!
It’s widely recognised that regular sweeping is important. Indeed, even the government’s own Clean Air Strategy advises people get their chimneys swept TWICE a year.
The pandemic has made this advice even more important – so much so the Federation of British Chimney Sweeps has published this…
Notwithstanding all the above, there may be some who feel it’s better to skip a year, or wait until Covid restrictions end.
It’s important to note that sweeps, by the nature of the job, are used to managing risk and use various methods of PPE.
Many sweeps have gone well above and beyond government guidance in order to provide Covid secure procedures.
So please, don’t wait any longer – book that essential sweep.
We’re living in very uncertain times.
But by getting your chimney sweep, you giving yourself and your family some much needed peace of mind…
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a fully qualified sweep and a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps based in the Manchester and South Lancs area