A regularly swept chimney is a healthy chimney – and it may just bring a little luck too…
Chimney sweeps are lucky, by Royal Decree! Legend has it that a chimney sweep helped save the life of King George II by bravely stepping out to take the reigns of his out-of-control horse. The grateful king showed his gratitude by declaring that chimney sweeps be the bringers of good luck. The humble sweep was elevated to a position more commonly associated with the gentry – and every sweep from then on was to be treated with the utmost respect.
Quite so! Today’s sweeps will help you to keep your chimney in good shape, avoiding problems further down the line. But modern chimney sweeps are more than just brushes and rods. They can dispense safety advice, equipment to help your stove run efficiently and install carbon monoxide alarms for peace of mind.
Your local chimney sweep is Graham Flood, a member of the Guild of Master Sweeps. Graham offers services including chimney sweeping and unblocking, cowl fitting, and stove installations and repairs. Here are his tips for ensuring a clean, safe burn.
“Inefficiently burning stoves and fireplaces contribute to local air pollution. Tackling this problem starts with the fuel you use. Burn properly seasoned wood – that’s wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. Green [wet] wood creates lots of smoke that can lead to a build-up of creosote and tar, increasing the risk of a chimney fire. It also creates a hard, sticky lining that’s much more difficult and expensive to remove.”
Typical symptoms of a poorly burning stove include blackened glass, a sign that not enough air is getting into the appliance because the controls are turned too low. Constant smoke is another sign that the temperature is too low.
“A flue pipe thermometer will help you gauge the right temperature,” explains Graham. “Stoves should burn at around 400-500°C. Lower temperatures cause more pollutants, but burn too hot and you’ll get through your wood quicker than necessary. There’s a happy medium to be struck.”
Graham can offer more advice and check your chimney’s in good shape following the recent winter. Get in touch with him – he’s a lucky fellow to have around!
Graham Flood The Chimney Sweep