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What Would You Like to Know?

Chimney Maintenance

Does my chimney really need sweeping?

In short, yes. For your own safety and peace of mind, chimney sweeping prevents soot and creosote build-up. Think about your chimney being clogged-up. How can poisonous gases escape from the indoor fire below and how can air safely flow through?  


Sweeping significantly reduces the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and uncontrollable chimney fires. It also reduces the risk of problems such as falling soot and animal nests, which can cause damage to the chimney infrastructure.


A professional chimney sweep will inspect the chimney and give it a thorough clean with specialist brushes to remove debris like soot build up, birds’ nests, cobwebs and leaves. We aim to leave your chimney in an efficient working order and have a strong record in doing so. 


At Black Stack Chimney Sweep, we also provide personal advice for all aspects of chimney maintenance, giving tips on the care of your stove or open fire, chimney, flue and liner (as appropriate) and ventilation.  Our aim is to ensure that your chimney at home or within business premises, is safe and energy efficient.

How do I know if my chimney needs sweeping?

If it’s been more than six months or a year (depending on the fuel used), it’s highly likely that your chimney needs sweeping. There are also some tell-tale signs to look out for that indicate your chimney needs servicing.


  • Soot specks found in the fireplace area.

  • Visible evidence of tar deposits in the chimney, open fire or stove.

  • Strong smells from the fireplace area.

  • Problems with the draught or smoke not drawing properly in the chimney.

  • The home has just been bought or rented and you don’t know when the chimney was last swept.

  • Any signs of birds nesting in the chimney, such as twigs, feathers or debris.

How often should my chimney be swept?

This is a common concern and really depends on the type of fuel used for your indoor fire. Chimneys should be cleaned regularly though in order to deter the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, damage or uncontrolled fires in the chimney.


As a general rule of thumb chimneys that have the following fuel source, should be swept:


  • Smokeless coals: At least once per year

  • Wood: Once per season when in use

  • Bituminous coal: Twice per year

  • Oil: Once per year

  • Gas: Once per yeara

Chimney Help

I think birds are nesting in my chimney, what should I do?

The usual species of birds nesting in chimneys are Jackdaws. Nesting material can be removed once they have left and a bird-guard installed to stop future nests. Birds’ nests can also pose a hazard to your home by blocking the safe emission of carbon monoxide and causing damage to the infrastructure. The removal of large established nests can also take some time, but please do not try to remove it yourself as you may cause further damage. Advise your chimney sweep that you suspect a bird's nest and they will allow more time to perform a removal. 


Note - for the removal of a nest it is best to clear the room prior and let the professional deal with the situation.

Why is there smoke in the room when I light a fire?  

It’s very important to know why smoke is coming back into your room, as it can appear for various reasons. It could be due to draught issues with your fire set-up or inadequate ventilation. Cold chimneys may also need warming before use otherwise air pressure affects the circulation of smoke. If your chimney is not removing smoke properly, contact a professional sweeping service to find the root cause.  

The Chimney Sweeping Process

How should I prepare for the Sweep’s arrival?

The chimney sweep will need space to clean your chimney properly. Please ensure the area in front of the fireplace is clear. There should be no hot ash. Move hearth furniture and companion sets and make the space easy to access. If possible or able to, otherwise the Sweep will do this.

Can I light the fire the night before?

Yes, enjoy a fire in your stove or open fireplace. But ensure the fire goes out early to ensure there is no hot ash. Note that any boilers, Agas and Rayburns must be turned off or put out at least 24 hours before the sweeping appointment as these appliances take a long time to cool down.

Will my room be in a mess once the job is done?

No. We provide professional sweeps who clear mess, dust and soot with a professional vacuum device fit for the purpose. Please be reassured that sweeping your chimney will not affect the cleanliness of your home. Please note that if the chimney has not been cleaned for a long period and/or in poor condition it may be more difficult to reduce dust/soot dispersal. Badly installed appliances are often much more difficult to contain and when this happens we cannot guarantee that the soot will not escape.

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