Cost of having your Chimney Sweeped

All you need to know about having your chimney sweeped including costs of materials, costs of labour and time frames.

chimney sweeping

What the job entails

Chimneys allow the passage of dangerous combustion gasses, as long as they are free from obstructions caused by excessive soot build up, bird nests, and any other blockages. Regular sweeping keeps the chimney clear of blockages and also removes creosote build up which can cause dangerous chimney fires. In addition, chimney sweeping can even increase the efficiency of some heating appliances.

Every chimney will have a recommended frequency of sweeping required which will depend on a number of factors such as the type of fuel used, the appliance and the type of fuel burned. The NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) publish general sweeping guidelines as follows:- for fires burning smokeless fuel at least once per year, wood burning fires and bituminous coal should be cleaned quarterly when in use, whereas gas and oil burning appliance chimneys should be cleaned once every year.

A professional chimney sweep will check the condition of the chimney at the same time and advise if a new liner is required. Building regulations do not insist that you have a chimney liner installed in theory, but in practice most chimneys will require one. You should also get any appliances serviced and cleaned at the same time as the chimney itself.

If you have a standard, traditional brick built chimney, it’s not too difficult to clean the chimney yourself. Some people just use a set of drain rods instead of a chimney sweeping rods. However insurance companies may not agree that your DIY chimney cleaning efforts are just as good as a professional chimney sweep, and in the case of a chimney fire they may be unwilling to pay out! In addition, the consequences of a chimney leaking carbon monoxide into your home are potentially fatal, so ensuring your chimney is safe is not something to take lightly, if in doubt use a qualified chimney sweep and have both chimney and fire checked regularly!

There are many things which could go wrong when having your chimney swept thereby increasing the cost, particularly if using untrained local tradesmen. The mess that can be created inside your home is incredible if the cleaning is not done properly, but in addition if all the debris (and the cleaning rods) is not removed from the chimney then you could be left with a potentially fatal situation if the chimney is blocked!

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Cost of hiring a Chimney Sweeper

The average cost of having your chimney sweeped is usually around £40-£70 and will obviously depend on a number of factors such as the type of appliance or chimney, the time it will take to complete the cleaning, the size of the chimney and the location/ease of access.

It usually only takes around an hour for an experienced chimney sweeper to complete the job.

Here are a few average costs for having your chimney sweeped:

# of Chimneys Last Cleaned Avg. Cost Duration
1 1 year ago £40 1 hour
1 over 2 years ago £70 2 hours
2 1 year ago £70 2 hours
2 over 2 years ago £120 4 hours

Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for having your chimney sweeped - Total Cost: £50






Clean Up


Most fires and appliances will have a recommended fuel which should always be used. If you have no such guidelines, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting fuel. For wood burning fires you should always use wood that has been properly seasoned over time to give a good clean heat. For coal burning fires or appliances, you should consult your manufacturer or local approved coal merchant for expert assistance. Please note that in certain areas of the UK the fuel choice is effectively made for you in smoke free zones, so you must take this into consideration when selecting fuel.
Yes, although gas and oil fuels are cleaner and do not normally deposit soot, there are still numerous other potential problems which sweeping can identify and prevent or solve. Just get it checked when you have your gas-oil appliance checked once a year for safety.
Professional chimney sweeps take care to leave as little mess as possible, using procedures to prevent dust escaping during the sweeping process. However, it is difficult to guarantee that no mess at all will be made, but it should be little to none in most cases.
In most cases all you need to so is ensure they have a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space, you should also probably clear any ornaments etc from around the hearth and mantelpiece in case of accidental breakage. Clearing the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish will also be appreciated. You can have a fire in any open fireplace or stove but Rayburns, Agas and boilers should all be turned off or put out at least 24 hours before the sweep is due to arrive, as they take a long time to cool down.
When a chimney is closed off, you can get problems with damp. Then any old soot left up there can turn to a black acidic slurry that can soak into the walls causing structural problems and unpleasant stains. So before closing off any chimney, have it professionally swept first to remove old soot deposits.
As a general rule if you are unsure when the chimney was last swept - then it needs cleaning! As far as obvious signs that the chimney needs cleaning, there are not always symptoms to look out for, which is why it is important to stick to a regular cleaning schedule.

However, there will sometimes notice specks of soot dropping into the fireplace, you may experience draught or smoking problems with the fire, and you may even be able to see tar deposits. Please note that if the chimney has not been used for some time nesting birds and animals may have moved in which can block the chimney completely and cause a fire or carbon monoxide hazard!
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