Why should your chimney be swept regularly?

Chimneys need to be clear and free of any obstructions to allow free passage of dangerous combustion gasses to exit the flue and disperse safely. Regular cleaning will remove soot and
creosote, helping prevent dangerous chimney fires and the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning due to choking of the flue . Cleaning will increase the efficiency of some appliances. Bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages will be removed. Having regular sweeps accompanied by a recognised sweeps certificate will also satisfy your household insurers in the event a chimney fire.

How often should your chimney be swept?

It is recommended that your chimney is swept once a quarter when in use:

Vulcan home sweeps division offer a professional, clean sweeps service that is carried out to a code of practice and conduct. Our sweeps are professionally trained, HETAS approved and have many years of experience in the chimney trade. We use latest in power sweeping technology and are well equipped to undertake nearly all appliances and flues with minimal disruption.

When your sweep is complete, you will be issued with sweeps certificate and advised when your next sweep is due.

Other services our sweeps division can undertake:

  • Smoke testing.
  • Safety checks.
  • Chimney pots.
  • All types of chimney cowls and terminals.
  • Solid fuel appliance servicing.
  • Birds nest removal.

Don’t leave it until the last minute, call us today to book your sweep on 01892 528217

The history of chimney sweeping

It was understood even in the Georgian period of our history that chimneys must be cleaned. Way back to the 17th century, the Master Sweep would employ small boys to climb and scramble up chimneys. The task for these climbing boys was to clean the inside of the flue with small hand-held brushes and also metal scrapers to remove the harder tar deposits left by wood or coal fire exhaust fumes.

The boys were apprentices and were bound to the trade as young as seven years old. A Master was paid a fee to clothe, keep and teach the child his trade. Sweeps’ Boys were usually parish children or orphans, though others were sold into the trade by their families. Some grew up to be assistants of the Master Sweep, the remainder were sent out to various trades to try to learn a new occupation. In London, there was a Society of Master Sweeps with its own set of rules, one of which included that boys were not required to work on Sundays but had to attend Sunday school to study, learn and read the Bible.

However, conditions for the boys were harsh and often cruel. They slept in cellars on bags of soot and were rarely washed. Years of accumulated soot and grime often produced cancer of the testicles. It was an extremely dangerous and dirty job for the climbing boys to undertake, especially without the modern day protection of safety clothing and respirators. Sadly there are recorded instances where these Climbing Boys choked and suffocated to death by dust inhalation whilst attempting to clean chimneys. Casualties were also frequent as boys became stuck in narrow flues or fell from climbing rotten chimney stacks.

It took many years and campaigns before Acts of Parliament finally approved by the House of Lords outlawed the use of Climbing Boys. In 1864 Lord Shaftesbury brought in the “Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers” which established a penalty of £10.00 for any offenders.

So after all that time, here we are today, with a trade that is still high in demand and not too dis-similar in the methods used – bar the climbing boys of course!!

Chimney Sweeping Case Studies