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County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 10 5:57 pm    Post subject: Chimney Sweeping Reply with quote
    

Hi all,

Just a gentle reminder with the cold season approaching fast that it's a very good idea to make sure you get your chimney swept before lighting up for the winter! One of my neighbours was a fireman for quite a while and told me that a large number of the "shouts" they went on were to chimney fires - so make sure yours isn't one of them!

I'm happy to offer a discounted price on chimney sweeping to any Downsizers in the Lancaster/Morecambe/Carnforth areas.

I also supply probably the best firewood briquettes on the UK market, and these are made right here in the UK rather than being imported from eastern Europe or beyond. These are a fantastic product and we rarely burn anything else in our stove and fire at home these days. You're very welcome to have a look at my website for further information, or email me at greenfires@gmx.com

My website can be viewed at www.greenfires.co.uk

All the best to all of you,

Andy
Greenfires Chimney and Stove Services

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 10 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Weve just swept our chimneys ourselves. Easy peasy if you plan it properly and have the brushes.

Took us 10 mins to think/plan, two of us to do it, NO CLEANING UP, and feeling very smug after.

We burn a lot of wood and so do it Sep every year. We used to pay £55 a chimney,

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 10 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

We do our own too. I get seriously over excited when the brush pokes out of the top of the chimney It just makes me giggle!

County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 10 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

No problem with people doing their own if they have the right stuff and the knowledge for the job - but the amount of "used once" gear you see on ebay suggests that it's not to everyone's liking by a long chalk! And of course a sweep will have ALL the tools he might need to sort you out, as well as the experience to spot any potential problems before they become real problems!

I go to quite a few jobs where homeowners have fitted stoves themselves and ended up with an unsweepable chimney as a result - some say "oh, we've had another bloke out before and he did it okay" No he didn't - he took your money and left - he didn't sweep your chimney! Putting a 5" brush up through a stove into an open brick chimney does not sweep it - it tickles the sides here and there at best - and where does the soot go? "Oh he gets it out of the stove" Ahh - so the soot he does manage to dislodge with his 5" brush rattles down that big open chimney and then miraculously all moves to the middle and goes down the stove flue pipe does it??! Where the soot and tar does go is into a pile on top of your register plate, where it can get nice and hot from the stove and sit waiting for some nice sparks to set it off!

Lorraine - do sweeps get away with £55 per chimney down there?!! I'm obviously not charging anything near enough!

Penny - it sounds like you would make a great business partner - I think someone who giggled every time she saw a brush coming out of a chimney would make excellent company!!

Cheers all,

Andy

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 10 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Yep...and there is a waiting list.......

and every chimney sweep Ive met is a cherrful one.

our sweep up in Scotland was a black guy...we used to think it was the soot, but he revealed that his dad was jamaican. When he smiled it was like watching the sun come out....!

County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 10 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Right - better clear out the spare room then - I'm on my way to make my fortune!! Two sugars in there please!

As far as being cheerful goes - it just makes everything so much easier doesn't it? I'm sure if I turned up at a customers house with a scowl on my face and moaning about everything I wouldn't be asked back again. I always try and leave them with a smile on their faces, and have a bit of a laugh and a gossip, and will always try and do a bit extra like giving the stove glass a proper clean while I'm doing the chimney.

And while I don't sell myself short, and don't believe in undercutting everyone else to get the work, I charge what I think is reasonable, considering my time and travel and business expenses and so on. Judging from what customers have said, they obviously think I charge a very reasonable price as well! I may not make quite as much as some sweeps, and probably make more than others, but I'd rather leave a customer thinking they've had a good job at a good price than "he did a good job but he was a bit pricey" Happy customers come back is how I see it!

Take care,

Andy

Cobnut



Joined: 29 Aug 2008
Posts: 475
Location: North Herefordshire
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Out of curiosity, how would someone train to be a chimney sweep? Itís one of those things that Iíve never seen courses for (although I admit I havenít been looking).

County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

There are some very expensive courses run by the main trade bodies, NACS, Guild of Master Sweeps etc, usually over a grand for a two or three day course. This seems quite pricey considering a neighbour of mine did 26 full days training at a DIY school in Manchester learning plastering, brickwork, decorating and so on for under two grand!

Quite a few sweeps I've spoken to don't rate these organistaions very highly at all to be honest - I'm not entirely sure what has gone on in the past but several have had fallings out with one or the other and either swapped sides or left the bodies altogether. Others think that the annual membership is not worth the money and that they have had no increase in work after joining, or no decrease after leaving.

I did quite a bit on my own originally for friends and neighbours etc, learning as I went along, but then spent time working with a professional sweep which was great as he passed on all sorts of stuff that would have taken a long time to pick up on my own.

I'm currently looking at training to install stoves and chimney liners. To avoid the necessity (and expense) of having work signed off by building control this will mean I'll have to be HETAS registered, which is going to be quite an expensive process itself, but hopefully worth it in the longer term.

Cheers,

Andy

Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Lorrainelovesplants wrote:
Took us 10 mins to think/plan, two of us to do it, NO CLEANING UP, and feeling very smug after.


Would you care to share?

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Firstly you need to have the twist together poles so you can extend the pole as you 'scrub' inside the chimney...then you need to think of how you are going to collect all the crap that is dislodged - we used a very heavy duty binbag, which had a hole put into push the pole through.


So brush inserted into cavity first, then the pole end gently inserted into hole, bin bag held by person A inside chimney (not the stove or opening, but past the baffle (very tricky in a small space).

Person B then scrubs and extends till you think (having measured beforehand) youve reached the top.....
Then carefully remove and retreive poles.


The planning bit -
make sureyou have a brush the correct width - must be a tightish fit. You really need 2 reasonablyfit people.

Then when done, put hand in and remove stuff that will have fallen on top of baffle by hand.

cant think of anything else - think that was really it...

Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks Lorraine. That was helpful.

County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

If you have a flexible liner in your flue though, you really want the nylon flexi rods instead of standard chimney rods - you're much less likely to stick the end through the liner and wreck it! It wouldn't be the first time some well meaning householder sweeping his/her own chimney had done that!

Also remember that if you're using rods with a "universal" fitting, only to twist clockwise - otherwise you're likely to leave half your rods and your brush up the chimney and this needs a special tool and more rods to remove again. "Lockfast" rods can be twisted either way.

You should be able to tell quite easily from the fireplace when the brush is out of the chimney pot, or butting up against the cowl if you have one fitted. Beware of the cheap bird guards that are just stuffed into the chimney pot - your brushes will knock these out. I only fit the type that are strapped securely in place - these will take a good thump from your brush without moving.

I'd still recommend getting a sweep in - for £30-£40 you get someone who knows exactly what they're doing and who has full insurance cover for the work being undertaken!

Cheers,

Andy

Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

County4x4 wrote:
I'd still recommend getting a sweep in - for £30-£40 you get someone who knows exactly what they're doing and who has full insurance cover for the work being undertaken!


I would agree - for us at least. Our house is very old in parts and the chimneys are really not straightfroward (or straight) at all. Although Gervase may have other things to say on the matter

Jenna



Joined: 30 Sep 2005
Posts: 263
Location: Away with the fairies
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

We used to get a proper man in when we had a two storey house with lots of bendy chimney bits - not complaining for £30, wouldn't risk it ourselves cos if we'd knocked the pot off it'd fall through next doors roof, etc. Now we have a very short house with no neighbours and very straight chimneys, we do it ourselves too, twice a year. I like the smell of soot

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 10 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

just to update...

we bought at the car boot at Bude today a chimney cap/top hat thingy for £3.....retail new £30ish...so very pleased. And an elbow with acess hole for £3....not for the house for the woodburner in the shed......

feeling very smug

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