What does a Chimney Sweep do?
Chimney sweeps clean the chimneys of open fires, and the flues for other heating systems and cooking appliances, to reduce the risks of chimney fires and the emission of dangerous fumes. They may also have technical expertise in the safe operation and maintenance of chimneys, appliances and the installation of flue systems, stainless steel flexible liners and flue terminations.
To clean a chimney, the chimney sweep inserts a suitable brush and pushes it through the length of the chimney using extendible rods, until all soot and debris is removed. They then use an industrial vacuum cleaner to remove soot and debris from the chimney base/fireplace, opening or heating appliance. Some jobs may also involve going up onto the roof. Chimney sweeps bring all their own equipment to a job.
After completing a job, chimney sweeps who are members of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps issue a certificate of chimney sweeping. They will also advise the property owner about any potential hazards and faults.
What's the working environment like working as a Chimney Sweep?
Self-employed chimney sweeps usually operate from an office base at home. Working hours are normally between 8.30am to 5.30pm, five days a week, with some Saturday working. Extended hours may be required during busy periods, which are usually Autumn and Spring. Most work is in the domestic sector in private houses.
Although modern equipment has improved working conditions, this can still be a dusty/dirty job. Chimney sweeps must wear protective clothing including overalls and face-masks. The work involves much standing, kneeling and bending, and some lifting.
What does it take to become a Chimney Sweep?
As a chimney sweep you should:
- be physically fit with plenty of energy and stamina
- be able to work on your own initiative without supervision
- have practical skills to use a range of appropriate hand tools and equipment
- be able to work at heights and climb ladders when required
- be conscious of health and safety and careful to keep to regulations at all times
- be able to maintain friendly relationships with customers.
In addition, as a self-employed chimney sweep you should:
- be well organised to plan your own work schedule, and self-disciplined to keep to it
- be able to do paperwork / keep accounts (unless you find someone to do this for you)
- be able to cost jobs, negotiate prices and persuade customers to pay on time.
Chimney Sweep Career Opportunities