Basil the Brush chimney sweep in Farnham
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Basil the Brush chimney sweep in Farnham, Surrey

No mess chimney sweep covering Aldershot, Farnborough, Fleet, Godalming and Guildford.

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Here is an article from Get Hampshire in which Steve gives some invaluable advice.

The Perils of not sweeping your chimney - by Halima Sadat.

As the evenings grow chilly, it’s time to think about stocking up on logs and coal. But it’s also time to make sure your chimney is clean and, most importantly, safe.

A roaring fire is a wonderful and welcoming sight but only if it’s where it should be — in the grate.

Every year in the UK, 31,000 homes have chimney fires. And many of these could have been avoided if the property owners had spent a little money on having their chimneys swept.

Today’s sweeps work safely and cleanly using modern vacuum equipment in addition to the traditional brushes. They are also knowledgeable enough to be able to advise on or even solve chimney problems. They can spot if anything, like the fireback for example, needs attention, which might not be obvious to the untrained eye.

Steve Temple, a chimney sweep from Farnham who trades under the name of Basil the Brush, says this is an important part of his job. “The first thing I do when I turn up at a property is to check the outside of the chimney for any signs of things like damaged pots or a listing chimney because the owner may not be aware there is anything wrong,” he said. “I can also carry out tests to find out whether smoke is going up the chimney correctly and if not, discover the cause. “The other area where I can give advice is when people have had new chimneys and fireplaces built. Builders are not experts in this area, so to avoid problems with the construction, I recommend that a homeowner speaks to a specialist like a sweep before the work commences.”

Primarily, of course, a sweep’s job is to clean the inside of chimneys in order to make them safe and efficient. Unfortunately, too many people consider chimney sweeping an unnecessary expense and never get their chimney swept, or only do so when they perceive they may have a problem. But prevention is better than cure. As fuel such as wood or coal burns, it gives off the familiar smoke which, because it is lighter than air, travels up the chimney. However, smoke contains particles of flammable substances such as creosote and these stick to the chimney lining. As the soot builds up over time, it can narrow or even block the chimney. In the first instance, because there is a reduced airflow, a narrowed chimney means the fire in the grate is unable to burn efficiently. Smoke will also enter the room, as it is unable to escape via the chimney. In addition, the weight of the soot may eventually result in the whole lot tumbling down into the fireplace. In the worst case, soot can catch alight and cause a major house fire.

According to Steve chimney fires and soot falls are the two main hazards from a neglected chimney. “A fire is extremely serious, of course,” he said. “But a soot fall is very messy and can cause a lot of damage to carpets and furnishings. “If you have a fire or a soot fall and haven’t maintained your chimney, you could very well find your insurance company won’t pay up.”

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, in addition to this, some fire services will present the homeowner with a hefty bill if the fire is the consequence of a dirty chimney and requires the attendance of a fire crew. How often you have your chimney swept depends on the kind of fuel you burn and for how long. Hardwoods produce less creosote than softwoods and, incidentally, burn for longer with a better heat production. Smokeless fuels emit fewer sooty chemicals than bituminous ones. All this affects the frequency of sweeping, but ideally, the minimum should be once a year, regardless of fuel type. For anyone who is unsure, the signs that your chimney needs urgent attention include a fire that starts to burn more slowly and/or smoke entering the room. If you spot either of these, take action sooner rather than later. Even if you don’t burn wood or coal, but instead use oil or gas-burning stoves and appliances in your fireplace, it is still necessary to have the chimney swept regularly. This is because chimneys can become blocked by falling debris and birds’ nests, with the result that the invisible, odour-free, but deadly, carbon monoxide produced by these burners is then released into the room.

“Having your chimney swept annually is essential if you have a gas fire,” continued Steve. “Because you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, you won’t realise there is a blockage, or that the gas is entering the room. Even a small amount can have an adverse effect. “I had one customer who felt unwell in the winter for about five years. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with her, until I went along and swept the chimney, after which she immediately recovered. “It turned out there was a blockage in the chimney and she was suffering from mild carbon monoxide poisoning from her gas fire. “Many people don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in their home, but even if you do, you shouldn't rely on it to keep you and your family safe. Instead, get your chimney swept regularly. “Having a chimney swept costs around £40 and when you consider it can genuinely be a lifesaver, then it has to be money well spent.”

END - To read the original article click here.