Sometimes, the most important jobs in the house are left to the very last minute, and the chimney is a typical example of this.
It’s rarely a conscious decision to leave it because most fireplace owners are only reminded about the potential need for a sweep when the cold weather arrives.
Unfortunately, that time of the year usually results in the best, most experienced sweeps being booked up for weeks.
The result? The chimney owner probably ends up resorting to the only sweep available. But the one who can get to you the quickest isn’t necessarily going to be the best.
So, here’s why you need to plan ahead and choose a qualified sweep.
This isn’t something you can take risks with
Your fireplace isn’t an area of the house to take risks with. If you hire the wrong sweep and they do a bad job, the potential consequences aren’t worth thinking about.
If you instead hire a qualified, experienced chimney sweep, you’ll end up with a safe, compliant fireplace that will work correctly.
Subpar work undertaken by sweeps who can simply get to you quickest can lead to some seriously dangerous scenarios.
What can go wrong with a bad sweep?
If you’re in a rush to get a sweep in, they might be less experienced. That can lead to corners cut and a rushed job.
They may leave debris and creosote in your chimney, thus increasing the chances of a chimney fire. Equally, if cracks, gaps, or other damages to your chimney aren’t addressed correctly, you could end up with a nasty carbon monoxide problem.
What do qualified sweeps do?
The best chimney sweepers don’t just sweep the chimney – they’re trained to assess and inspect every element of the chimney.
Their job is to make sure it’s safe to use for at least the next 12 months, and the most experienced sweeps will know exactly what to look for. They’ll identify signs that something is potentially dangerous, and where further inspections are advisable.
Ignorance might indeed be bliss with the less important things in life, but when it comes to the safety of your home, you simply can’t take chances with your fireplace and chimney.
There’s no way to check a sweep’s work
If a bodywork specialist fixes a dent on your car, you can easily check the quality of their work. But a chimney sweep? How on earth do you know if they’ve done a good job?
You can’t see up your chimney (trust us, it’s true – don’t try it), therefore it’s impossible to assess whether or not the sweep has undertaken the work required.
This is why you should always check a sweep’s qualifications. They’re not mandatory, but if they exist, it demonstrates a willingness to learn and confirms that the sweep has been independently checked and certified. They’ll also likely attend regular refresher courses to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
How to find the best sweeps
To avoid running into these issues, there are a few things you can do to ensure you find the best, most experienced sweeps for your home.
Make sure you:
- start early – don’t wait until the winter;
- check their insurance, because accidents can happen, and you need to be covered;
- check their online reviews and testimonials – Google and Facebook are great starting points; and
- look for the NVQ qualified mark.
We’re really proud of the reviews our sweeps receive; it’s what brings us more work and ensures our clients have total peace of mind.
Between September and January, we do have longer waiting times. We’re working to improve that by growing our resources, but we always encourage people to call us during the spring and summer to book those sweeps.
If you want to get yours ready for the winter, there’s no better time than now! Get in touch with the SweepSmart team to find out how we can help you.