With the prices of gas and electric heat set to skyrocket in the coming months due to recent world events, more and more people are turning to cheap and abundant wood fuels.
If you buy them bulk, heating with wood biomass briquettes can cost you as little as 10 pence per kilowatt-hour of heat. Well-reviewed, Defra-compliant wood burners can now be had for as little as £600. And if that wasn’t enough, unlike gas and (in most parts of the country) electric heat, wood fuel heat is 100% carbon neutral.
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Wood burners need constant maintenance. The most costly part of this maintenance is having your chimney swept by a professional. Here’s all you need to know about this process.
Is Chimney Sweeping Necessary?
According to Lekto’s 2022 chimney sweep guide, the main purpose of chimney sweeping is the removal of creosote, a cancerogenic, combustible compound that builds up whenever wood materials are burned. The build-up of this material in your chimney liner can create a serious fire hazard.
Burning low quality, poorly seasoned wood leads to an accelerated buildup of creosote. Burning high quality, Ready to Burn firewood slows down this process, but does not stop it completely. So you will still need to hire a chimney sweep even if you burn premium firewood.
If you use poor quality firewood, you may need to call your chimney sweep every three months. If you burn only certified wood fuels, calling them once a year should be more than enough. September is often mentioned as the best month for hiring a chimney sweep as it will allow your stove to perform the best during the winter heating season (when it matters the most).
If your chimney is in good repair, the entire process will take under an hour. However, if your appliance needs repairs, this process can take up to several hours, so make sure to schedule accordingly.
Chimney sweeping isn’t a regulated profession, so pretty much anyone with the right equipment can do the job. If you go this route, you can expect to pay as little as £50 for a basic sweeping of your flue.
However, do make sure to read up on the chimney sweep’s reviews if there are any. A bad sweeping can be worse than no sweeping at all as it will give you a false sense of confidence.
Your second option is to hire a HETAS-licensed approved chimney sweep. To do so, go to the organization’s site, enter your postcode, and choose a certified business near you. You can expect a certified sweep to have a professional chimney sweep brush for effective cleaning, specialised industry sheets for protecting your floors and furniture from any dust particles that may escape from the flue, and an endoscopic camera for verifying and documenting work results.
When hiring a HETAS-certified chimney sweep in Brighton, you can expect to pay between £70 and £85 for a basic sweep of the flue. Blockage removal and other maintenance work will cost you extra. Appliance repair can cost hundreds of pounds, depending on the severity of the problem.
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