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If your a chimney sweep from any where in this world you are sure to have heard of Santa Maria Maggiore the world chimney sweeping festival held in Italy in September each year.

Mary poppins has nothing on our chimney sweeps festival

Join the master chimney sweeps in Italy for the biggest chimney sweeping festival in the world

Where and when?

The festival is held each year in the Town of Santa Maria Maggiore in the beautiful valley of Vigezzo in Piedmont Italy. It typically runs between the 1st, To the 4th of September the start of the sweeping season.

The origins

Years ago the area of Vigezzo was very poor, basic survival was difficult and as such the young children of the area were sold into servitude to master chimney sweeps all over Europe. The festival celebrates the end of that terrible trade and the coming together of sweeps from around the globe. There is a famous statue of the last chimney boy who died during a lightening strike marking the end of the climbing boys.
What happens? Well here is a run down of what to expect.

On Friday the 1st of September the chimney sweeps from around the world are welcomed in the chimney sweeping museum

On Saturday the 2nd September the chimney sweeps begin their parade and tribute  is made to the little chimney sweep the famous statue of the last chimney boy And a great photo opportunity.

Chimney sweeps taking to the rooftops

Chimney sweep statues on the rooftops in Santa Maria

On Sunday the 3rd of September the event is at its peak. There is often over a thousand chimney sweeps dressed in their top hats and jackets parading and dancing through the streets. Later in the day the sweeps take to the rooftops lighting flares and taking photos. Often there are displays of traditional tools, bicycles and clothing on display.

Romanian master chimney sweep from ASFOCH on the rooftops in Santa Maria Maggiore Italy

My Good friend Mircea Balsoianu on the rooftops in Italy

On Monday the 4th of September the  chimney sweeps will take the cable car up to the Piana di Vigezzo in a celebration of the area. On the afternoon of the 4th goodbyes are said and we return home with a giant hangover and memories that are timeless.

the dates in this post are best knowledge at time of posting for 2017 . PLEASE check with the chimney sweep museum in Italy before you travel to be sure.

Who should go?

Well every chimney sweep should go at some time in their life. The sweeps festival is an amazing experience that you must experience.

Every chimney sweep from the UK should attend the Santa Maria Maggiore at some point in their chimney sweeping career.

Mr Daniel Hodgson and Mr Sascha meding master chimney sweeps from the uk

oh most importantly Spazzacamino is the Italian word for chimney sweep.

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Hello all and welcome to today’s blog where you will learn important information about Thatched properties and their chimneys.

Firstly what’s the difference between a thatch house and a house with a tiled roof?

well  I guess you all heard the fable if the three little pigs? Where the big bad wolf will huff and puff and blows down the houses made of wood and straw?  Well in this case the wolf is fire and yes a Thatched house is made of wood and straw.

Thatched houses are more at risk of chimney fire

 

Differences in building regulations and Standards

There are several differences between the building regs required for Thatched properties and that of brick built places below are some examples.

  1. The chimney stack of a Thatched property must terminate 1.8m above the ridge line this is 1m for typical modern construction.
  2. The chimney of a Thatched property must be lined and insulated to prevent heat transfer.  This is typically achieved with a rigid steel chimney system but there are alternative methods.  There is no requirement for insulation in a modern brick house only that the lining is sufficient and sound.

There are other differences between the regs of thatch and typical build but I can’t  list everything here.

 

What causes chimney fires in a Thatched property over and above a modern constructed brick and tiled house?

There are two additional methods that a Thatched property can become the victim of a house fire caused by the chimney.

Direct and radiant heat transfer including cracks and damaged mortar

  1. Direct and radiant  heat transfer. When a chimney catches on fire the bricks of its structure get very hot inside over 1000c. As the bricks get hot the heat begins to travel from the inside to the outside where the hot bricks come into contact with the straw of the thatch. As thatch is such a good insulator the heat cannot escape and it eventually combusts. This problem is greatly increased in old chimneys that are damaged or in a poor state of repair as small cracks and missing mortar can expand when hot and leave a direct line of sight between thatch and flames.

.Chimney fire is a major cause of Thatched property fire

 

Hot ember ejection.

  1. Hot ember ejection does not require a chimney fire to catch the thatch alight although it is far more likely to happen when it does.  Just like the name suggests it is possible for hot embers to exit through the chimney pot and fall back down onto the thatch. This is one of the reasons a taller chimney stack is required under building regulations section j. According to the burgoynes model many thatch chimney fires they investigate have chimneys which are too short.
Only professionally trained sweeps should tackle the chimney sweeping of Thatched properties.

Insurance and increased consumer risk

Due to the additional  risk posed by owning a 500 year old house made of wood and straw most insurance companies are very strict with the requirement to both sweep and camera survey the chimneys of Thatched properties.

It is typical for a chimney to  be required to be swept by a professional sweep registered with one of the HETAS  once per season when in use and a camera survey is performed every three years.

Sweeping certificates must be kept by the sweep and house owner. Chimney sweeps may require additional insurance to sweep Thatched properties.

What can the consumer do to minimise the risks?

  1. Have the chimney swept by a certified professional on a regular basis, ask to see their credentials most sweeps are not trained to deal with thatch properties.
  2. Contact your insurance company and find out what your responsibilities are
  3. Burn only approved fuels and or wood with a very low moisture content <20 percent
  4. Have the chimney camera surveyed and signed of every third year or as often as the insurance company requires.
  5. Have the thatch treated  with a fire retardant product
  6. On and around November the 5th be wary of fireworks, dampen Your roof with a hose and have it at hand.
  7. Have the flue treated with a product such as cre-away regularlyto remove flammable creosote.
  8. Do not slumber or over fire your appliance
  9. Never use paper or accelerants to light your fire stick with fire lighters and minimal kindling.
  10. Do not burn stoves with their door open unless they are designed too work that way.
  11. Never leave a fire unattended!
  12. Spark arresters are rarely reccomended as they are difficult to clean and cause resistance to flow causing unnecessary additional creosote buildup within the flue system
  13. Make sure your chimney is long enough
  14. Have  a proper fire assesment done on your property

 So in conclusion.

Responsibility.

The chimney sweep is responsible to be adequately qualified, equipped and insured to undertake the type of work they are doing and to keep records of such work. They must be professional in their actions. Our company Clean Sweep Chimney Services offers expert advice and service in this regard.

The customer is responsible to employ a person competent enough to undertake their  work, to comply with the requirements of their insurance company, to use their appliance in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. To only burn approved fuels, to utilise common sense where fire is concerned, to keep records of sweeping and installations. A customer must either use a HETAS registered installer or get installations signed of through building control. You should have a fire safety inspection. Etc, etc  not being a lawyer there may be much more responsibilities that I have not mentioned.

very few chimney sweeps are thatch experts. At the time of printing this blog only the Guild of master chimney sweeps run a course specifically for chimney sweeps who service Thatched properties.  Thatch is a huge subject that I have only just touched upon in this blog

I myself am a lecturer on the Gmcs Thatched course but I’m still learning everyday.

Most of the thatch properties in the UK are situated in the southwest, if you require a professional qualified chimney sweep for your Thatched property in this area give our sister company Hodgson’s chimney sweeps a call

Master chimney Sweep Daniel Hodgson utilising the Wohler professional chimney camera survey equipment.

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Camera Surveys what’s inside the chimney out of sight?

Hello

In today’s blog you will learn when to use a camera to survey the chimneys interior along with what type of camera for which type of survey, yes there are different types.

Survey types

  1. look and go see. This is not a survey in a true sense as no official report will be generated. It is used simply to see if a given blockage such as a birds nest has been fully removed. Or maybe to Find if there is a cap on top which you cannot see from the roadside.
  2. Full chimney survey with report and pictures or video. This type of survey is much more in depth you will have to assess the safety of the chimney, wether it conforms to building regulations, the condition of the lining, wear and tear, water damage, major structural faults such as missing bricks, protruding objects such as RSJs,  suitability for use amongst many other things. All findings must be professionally documented with attached photographic evidence along with your expert statements.  This type of full survey carries a significant risk  to the surveyors  as such professional indemnity insurance is required. This is the type of survey you would undertake on a thatch property of maybe a party wall disagreement.
  3. Full structural survey.  This type of survey is often undertaken along with an engineer or surveyor. As the name suggests it must not be undertaken without expert input.

AMAC engineering look and go see recordable camera.

Chimney cctv inspection

 

Camera Types

  1. Look and go see.  This is a basic camera that looks straight ahead, it has minimal functionality and is suited only to look and go see surveys. These cameras are often cheap but cannot serve the purpose of a full survey camera.
  2. Full pan and tilt with record function. This is the type of camera required for all official camera surveys that require evidence and a legal report. It has the ability to tilt the camera head to look 90 degrees side to side and pan 180 degrees this is necessary to scan the interior walls if the flue. Is has a record function and image resolution is usually very high. The downside is this type of cctv chimney survey camera is typically very expensive and is quite fragile requiring expert users.

The below camera is a Wohler Viz 400. It has many features that are desirable for full reportable camera surveys

Daniel Hodgson master chimney sweep performing a chimney camera survey.

 

Legal issues

Undertaking any type of camera survey opens the professional chimney engineer or sweep up to potential liability. Clean sweep, London chimney sweep only recommend the use of a chimney camera if.

  1. You have undertaken professional training regarding chimney camera surveys and are adequately qualified.
  2. You have both professional indemnity and public luability insurance for the job you are undertaking
  3. You must thoroughly document your findings and only report what you see.
  4. Copies of reports must be kept for several years
  5. Your evidence may mean that you have to attend court one  day.

A closer view of the Chimney camera and Snap lok Button lock rod set up we use at clean sweep, chimney sweep London.

Professional chimney services utilising Wohler chimney camera equipment.

 

Conclusion

If you require the services of a chimney engineer London for professional chimney services such as chimney camera surveys, you must.

  1. Check their competence
  2. Check their insurance
  3. Ensure they can document in the format they require
  4. Ensure that their equipment is suitable for your type of survey.

Thank you kindly for taking the time to read my blog, if you found it useful please share it with your friends and maybe click the Ike button on the top left hand corner.

You can learn a little more here chimney camera expert

regards

Daniel Hodgson

master chimney sweep

 

 

 

Chimney Sweeping is evolving

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Hello all and welcome.

I wrote this post after I received many messages following  my blog To power Sweep or not to power sweep, where many users of power sweeping equipment reminded me of the evolution of whip heads, button lock rods,dust sheets and Mole brushes.

In this blog you will learn about new products and techniques that are making both chimney sweeping and rotary power sweeping safer and better.

Dust sheets

The first things I will start with are the humble dust sheet. When I started we used either cotton twill decorators sheets or good old bed sheets. Nowadays the material used maybe completely waterproof with a rubberised backing, easy to clean and impossible to spill a cup of tea through. I recently reviewed some sheets from SIS that were excellent.

below a cotton twill sheet. You can clearly see that that big weave isn’t going to stop fine soot.

Chimney sweeping dust sheets

If you compare the above cotton twill sheets with those below there is a huge difference.

A typical London chimney sweep

 


Soot cloths

There has been an evolution over the years in soot sheets, these are the sheets used to seal  the fireplace apperture with the elephant nose on the front to sweep through. Many years ago we would make our own, well our wives would. Nowadays there are many manufacturers making high quality products such as the Sweepmate ones below. These are not the only sheets on the market but are high quality and are what we use at clean sweep chimney services.

The Sweepmate Soot cloth

 

Button-lock rods

The next evolution in chimney sweeping that we like very much is the button lock rods. Prior to these we used the good old screw thread which is why we all have tennis elbow or tendinitis. There are single and twin button versions of button lock rods available, some require a special glove to depress the button.

After much testing we at clean sweep utilise the twin button version from Snap-lok these have little chance of coming undone if a button is depressed while within the flue, they are also made from stainless steel and nylon and have a tapered feral which is safe to use in liners they offer  very good all round value.

Rods for chimney sweeping

The Mole

Last but not least in this blog Mole brushes. I received lots of feedback from my last blog To powersweep or not to power sweep. As a reminder of that blog I explained that using a whip in some chimneys can be very damaging and excessively wear the flue lining, well there is a new kid on the block which can attach to a rotary system but is very much less aggressive.This brush promises  the benefits of traditional Sweeping with the ease of a rotary system. It’s called The Mole. So what the heck is a Mole.  It’s the name given to a specialist brush from RPS at clean sweep we have found these mole brushes very useful as London Chimney Sweeps. The houses are very old and the chimney lining is brittle and as such  special care and attention are required as to not cause unnecessary damage to the flue linings.

below a Mole brush from RPS

A rotary Mole brush used for chimney sweep essex

I hope you have found our blog useful. If you could please like our blog by ticking the top left corner you be sure to get upcoming posts from us.

special thanks to, Stove  industry supplies, Sweepmate and Rotary power sweeping who supplied the images.

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Ok so you went out and purchased that rotary power sweeping kit so when do you use it?  The first main difference between the sweeping styles is the cleaning action, a standard brush scrubs back and forth pushing and pulling manually where as a rotary flail rotates under action of a connected drill. Now let’s look at some of the pros and cons of rotary sweeping kit.

 

pros.

  • One flail fits all so kit does not take up the space of traditional brushes
  • More Effective at removing some hard deposits and nesting material
  • minimal sweat involved the drill takes the strain
  • Can be reversed in the chimney  counterclockwise
  • Quick
  • None or little chance of losing a brush
  • Less physical strength required
  •  less wear and tear on flails when compared to bristles and simple to replace

Cons.

  • Can be overly aggressive on some mortar and or lime chimneys
  •  Batteries can run out
  • very little tactile based feed back through the rods
  • Can be expensive to purchase
  • Can leave soot on horizontal sections
  • Some Customers like the old ways
  • Some partial  blockages can be missed due to the small head size
  • Some liner manufacturers do not approve this method

 

The list above is not exhaustive but gives an idea

Over the years Clean Sweep Chimney Services, chimney sweeps London have tried out lots of kit some we love some not do much. We have found a place in all of our vans for rotary power sweeping kit however we do not use it on every job. In London the chimneys tend to be lined with the old parjette lime mixture and the rotary flail is way too aggressive. Also when we are chimney sweeping Essex we come across many thatched properties with 500 year old flues, this again is no place for the rotary flail.

So where do we use rotary kit then?

We have found that the rotary flail come into its own when cleaning expanded creosote in lined chimneys, removing birds nests, terracotta lined chimneys when there are hard deposits from smokeless coal and anywhere where the access is too small for a traditional brush. Following a cre-away chemical treatment rotary power sweeping is by far the best option.

So in conclusion

only people expertly trained in rotary sweeping with previous experience of traditional methods should be undertaking this work. In the wrong hands a flail and a drill can destroy your 500year old chimney, in the right hands a chimney fire or blockage could be prevented.

it is the opinion of clean sweep chimney services that only chimney Sweeps who are association trained and that have undertaken the manufacturers of their chosen equipment training courses should under take power sweeping.

Rotary power sweeping can be both the best and the worst thing so chose your sweep carefully.

if you found this post useful I would please ask that you share it.

thanks for reading Daniel Hodgson

master chimney sweep

 

The images used in this blog were from Rotary power sweeping

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Chimney sweeping tales. Finding Treasure in a chimney

Almost on a daily basis I am ask what interesting things do you find in a chimney and on most days of course it’s a mixture of soot, bird poo, chimney lining, nesting material, old newspapers and the odd pigeon. However over the years I have been sweeping I have found a few interesting things and I will share a few of them.
One Day working with my father John Hodgson while working in a four storey terraced house in Islington London, (These are the houses which have flat roofs and are interconnected).
Anyways our customer that day was an American lady who was very insistent that her chimney would be the lucky one, we asked her why and she told us of a story where a burglar was caught on the roof of the end terrace and that his swag bag was empty. The police surmised that the loot was discarded by way of one of the many chimneys he passed or by being thrown to an accomplice on the ground.
The lady customer in question refused to leave the room throughout the entire sweeping process like someone waiting for a slot machine to pay out we thought it comical but then just as we reached the last bend we heard something crashing down the flue, we pulled back the sheet and there it was a solid silver Victorian toasting fork like the one in the picture. “I told you so ” she said. As she grabbed it from the soot.

After the toasting fork incident I always checked the hidey hole in Georgian houses, these holes were where items of value were stashed before the days of safes as we know them. When the fire was alight it was impossible to access said hole without being badly burned so was a safe space.
On the date of this story I checked the hidey hole expecting another hand of soot but instead I came across a tobacco tin. I looked inside the Tin to find some baseball cards wrapped in wax paper. Today I don’t know really what they were but I’m sure they were very valuable as I I was paid over £200 for them back in the 1990s from a specialist shop. If only I had access to eBay back then life would be better I’m sure. Incidentally I offered them to my customer who declined and told me it was a tip laughing to himself.

I will post to other interesting chimney sweeping tales at a later date.

Kindest Regards
Daniel Hodgson

 

Learn how to light a log fire

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The funny thing is that every guy has their own method for lighting fires and that their way is best, I was one of those people too using my trusted teepee method I used in cubscouts, the below method is what I learned in chimbey Sweeping school in Bavaria Germany.  The problem with the teepee method is that it collapses in on itself when you add logs.

Starting at the beginning: all wood to be burned must be dry! this may seem obvious but I often visit houses to find that the wood the customer is attempting to ignite is far too wet. The time scale required to air dry wood that has been split, is around 2 years from the day the tree was felled to the day it can be burned. The moisture content of wood should be checked using a log moisture metre.  The moisture content must be below 21%. If the moisture content is too high then the heat energy will be utilised by the process of evaporating the water within. This results in very  little usable heat and excessive tarring of the chimney. Burning wet wood will lead to, extra sweeping visits, a black viewing glass and greatly increase the risk of  chimney fire, probably most importantly for the end user expensive repairs and maintenance.

The types of wood that I use in the fire documented below are pine which has been split into 1″x 1″ x 6″ pieces for kindling. Beech Logs which have been cut to 30cm lengths split and Kiln dried. The fire lighters which I use are certainly Wood Flamers. The stove is a Scan Anderson 4/5 DEFRA exempt, wood burning stove that is approximately 4 years old

Tip A bed of ash in the fire box is A ok when burning wood

 

1, On top of the ash we now add a raft of 5 pieces of kindling and begin to build a Jenga like tower.

kindling wood

2,  Carefully we add 2 flamers and ignite using a lighter
Certainly wood fire lighters

3, we now add more kindling to finish the Jenga like square, Ensuring that there are many air gaps for the flame to jut through and leaving a large contact area for the flame available on the kindling.

Jenga kindling square
Warning things are getting HOT

4, We now ensure that all vents and air intakes on the stove are open and carefully, partially close the door leaving an air gap of approximately 1cm. We leave the fire to become hot 3/10 Min’s approximately. This ensures that the chimney has an adequate draught and will help prevent smoking back when we add our logs.

scan anderson door

scan door open 1cm
the door stays ajar 1cm approx

5, Ensuring that the stove is hot and that there is adequate kindling, we now add 2 small logs in a diagonal cross formation. Adding more kindling is sometimes necessary at this point.

wood logs added to a scan

6,  Again the door is closed but not fully until the logs are burning vigorously. 5/10 Min’s approx

7, We now close the door and leave the fire to fully warm up the stove and flue.

Scan 4/5 moderate flaming combustion

8, After 15/20 mins the air intakes on the stove should be adjusted In order to achieve a state of moderate flaming combustion. This is when the entire window is  filled with fire without the flames being drawn into the chimney. The air intakes should never be adjusted to the point at which the combustion process is is being severely hampered or stopped. The smoke as it exits the pot should be assessed. It should be white or a light grey. If the smoke is brown or black then it is likely that either the air intake is not  open enough, the fuel is wet or an inappropriate fuel type is being used.

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There are many chimney cowlings on the market today, some are designed well and have a positive function and some are restrictive and should not be used for live appliances.

Do I require a chimney cowling and what are the pros and cons?

Cons:

In  many instances you will not require a cowling. Fitting a cowling can case a restriction of flue gases and slows down the fumes escape, this in return can lead to dirtier chimneys and more frequent sweeping. Cowling are generally made of metal and are very cold in winter, when hot flue gasses containing creosote hit this cold surface they can condense causing a rapid tarring of the meshing.

Pros:

There are some instances where a chimney cowling is the only sensible option, Some examples may be;  Bird infestation,  down draughts and heavy rain ingress. If these problems are left untreated hey can have devastating consequences with both personal risk and unnecessary expense.

Colt high top bird cowling

The Colt High top anti bird and rain cowling

It is unlikely that fitting a cowling will increase the draught of a chimney indeed the added restriction will most likely reduce the updraught further.  Fitting a rotor cowling can increase the updraught in some instances when the wind can be utilised to drive the fan. The best solution`s for inadequate draught are relining with an appropriate sized liner for the appliance, increasing the chimney length or installing a chimney fan.

TIP!  A poor updraught may be a symptom of excessive leakage within the flue which could have fatal consequences. If you can imagine drinking through a straw that has a split in you quickly notice that it is impossible to hold the Vacuum, this is similar within a flue. leakage can be tested for using a special machine such as the wohler DP23, smoke can also be used but the results are nearly always inconclusive. For more info on chimney leakage testing look here https://www.chimneyservice.co.uk/pressure.php

Rotor vents can be useful in helping to defeat down-draughts caused by the wind. They rarely help in Down draughts that are caused by positive pressure (over hanging trees or buildings usually cause this) in these instances it is typically necessary to extent the flue out of the high pressure zone by installing a long pot or extending the stack.

The Colt rotorvent turbolite

The Colt Turbolite used for downdraughts caused by the wind

Over the years, old wife’s tales have led to builders and DIYers fitting inappropriate or unsafe terminals.  It is vitally important that if you have one of these incorrect tops fitted that you do not use your appliance until it is removed or replaced. I have added a link below  below for terminals that are for disused/defunct chimneys. Please do not assume that because the terminal you have is not pictured, then it is safe. I have only given samples of the most common unsafe terminals.. If you are unsure then speak to a professional.

Inserts for disused chimneys

I hear on a daily basis that customers like the smell of a particular type of wood smoke?. When I tell the person that wood smoke contains very high levels of carbon monoxide they are often surprised. In the modern world we live in, it is never acceptable to breath any amount of smoke. Some fires or stoves may smoke a little for the first five minutes or so while they are cold however after this time there must be NO smoke or fumes seeping or leaking back into any living space. A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed within any room that has any appliance that burns carbon based fuels. This may seem alarmist but it simply takes away the guess work and makes the user experience of a having a real fire much more enjoyable.

So to answer the question do you need a cowling?. Maybe, maybe not, but you may have an undiagnosed problem that needs addressing by a professional.

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Chimney Sweeping through the generations
As you may or may not be aware our company is lucky in the sense we have been in this trade for over half a century over four generations. So I was sitting talking to my grandfather John William Hodgson, now in his 70’s talking about the chimney sweeps of yesteryear. I often write educational pieces but this is more a bit of fun and is certainly lighter hearted. Unfortunately my great grandfather John Hodgson senior is not here anymore to reminisce the stories of the past, he started sweeping in the 60’s and was a coal miner for many years prior taking up sweeping as a way to escape the pits in Blyth near Newcastle where he was born.
Grand father Hodgson started full time chimney sweeping in 1979 where he started with cane rods and a standard 16” stiff brush for sweeping coal burning open fires. Here is an example of some pictured below.
Cane chimney rods

now and again he had to hit his rods with a hammer to loosen them as the brass Ferrell seize together, eventually he changed to baileys blue polypropylene three foot, screw thread much like what are available today, most of us use button lock rods of some description or a viper but the process is still similar for traditional sweeping.

Grand father Hodgson’s first van was a Bedford as pictured below:

 

Grand father Hodgson bought his first industrial vacuum cleaner in 1979 unfortunately I don’t know the model so I cannot a produce picture, if you were to make the comparison with a modern vacuum then I’m sure a Henry would be way more powerful. When sweeping granddad used to use standard cotton twill dust sheets much like today and neoprene matts from Dungeness power station and he cut a piece of board with a foam backing to wedge against fireplace openings and used a piece of lagging cloth (which we now know contains asbestos) as a soot nose to feed his rods through. Grandad had a local round for weekdays which was the Thurrock area of Essex and ventured out to to sweep chimneys of Hampstead and North London at the weekends. Grandfather Hodgson also was a regular attendee at weddings where he would wear his top hat, boiler soot and a pair of white gloves he would also soot his face and wear tails for a more traditional look.
We of course know now that soot is a carcinogen but it was normal then to put the soot on your crops to keep the slugs away and to fertilise as its high in nitrates that kinda makes sense. Most of his wast soot was given to a local allotment in those days who couldn’t get enough of the black stuff in exchange for vegetables. Grand father talks of a friend who used his coal soot to brush his teeth!! Ironically Carbon based toothpaste is a new expensive trend today
In those days when he started out dust masks were a rarity not afforded to chimney Sweeps like him and fine filters p3 masks didn’t exist. There was no such thing as health and safety if compared with today and certainly no such thing as a H rated hazvac.
Coalpaste!

 

Grand father Hodgson got his first top hat from West and Co funeral directors, he swept two chimneys for them and they gave him a top hat as payment I think that’s a fair swap. His most memorable job was from a windmill in Orsett village an elderly chap lived there, maybe in his mid-80s. He used to hang hams in his kitchen and burn tarry wood to smoke them. When grandad came out to sweep the chimney he said the tar in the flue was smooth like black glass and the flue was constricted to 2”, he spent the next 3-4 hours chopping the tar out with a hammer and chisel to clear it.

Grand father Hodgson stopped chimney sweeping in 1993 and at that time my father Daniel Hodgson had taken over much of his round and was running the company which was then Called Clean Sweep Chimney Services. My father is also a past chairman of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and was formerly the Guilds technical director writing much of the training material which is still used today. More recently he founded Sweep Safe.
In 2010 I started as a full time chimney sweep, in 2012 I qualified as the UKs youngest master chimney sweep through the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps after many training courses. I have loved the job ever since I started.
Our family history over four generations is the reason that we are rebranding Clean Sweep Chimney Services to our Family name of Hodgson’s Chimney Sweeps. We are a proud family with a genuine heritage and our current brand Clean Sweep which has been used and copied by many since our inception doesn’t reflect this.
We have old links with the city of London and on my Grand mothers side many of her relations were pearly kings and Queens of the East end a great uncle still is. In the coming weeks we are branching out the company into the south west of the country setting up Hodgson’s Chimney Sweeps Devon, this will be an exciting new chapter in our company and families history we will bring our expertise experience and our very high standards to a new market and new experiences.
Thank you for reading and following.
Danny Hodgson

The Hodgson family chimney Sweeps today 

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Oil Boilers and there connecting flues

In light of the recent tower fire in Grenfell tower we have had a large uptake in calls and mails about the sweeping of oil fired appliance flues due to the failing of fire safety certificates.This is something that is usually forgotten about as many large companies employ oil service engineers and expect that the flue is swept as part of the service, this is rarely the case.
The chimney sweeping of oil boiler flues is rarely undertaken and is a growing problem in the UK mainly London.
It is recommended that the sweeping of an oil boiler flue is undertaken at least once yearly, ideally prior or during the service of the boiler. This is to remove soot build up from the combustion of oil; this collects inside the flue system and will affect the draught and flow of the system. When flow and draught is decreased the efficiency of the boiler is then affected negatively.  The less efficiently the burner is running the more soot is formed; this will result in either in eventual blocking or chimney fire.
Oil is not cleanest of fuels, it often mistaken that only solid fuel appliances need sweeping. This is not the case Gas, Solid fuel, Oil, and Biomass flues all require sweeping and clearing of soot and other deposits.
Access is an issue: from experience having been on site to sweep oil boiler chimney systems, access into the flue ways is always difficult or may not be possible.
If it is possible then it is mainly found that the main run of the chimney has an access panel leaving the rest of the chimney difficult to access, inspect and ultimately clear of soot.

From experience it is the case that many of these flues have never been swept, this will affect the function of the boiler, massively increase risk of chimney fire, increase risk of harmful gases, entering the property and effect insurances.

Here are a few pictures showing an example of lack of care and maintenance:

Soot door is seized shut.
Below a typical oil boiler flue in the `City of London

20 years of oil soot build up terminal is blocked and the flue is heavily sooted.


In light of recent events it is the advice of a professional chimney sweep that you maintain both your appliances and your chimney/flue systems. As a landlord or management agency it is your responsibility to maintain heat producing appliances within the property, this includes the chimney.
Give Clean Sweep Chimney Services a call today on ‪08000434737‬ for any enquiries for the sweeping of commercial or domestic flues systems.
Chimney sweep London

Thank you for reading.

Danny Hodgson