FAQs

Employing the services of a qualified, professional chimney sweep from a recognised organisation will ensure work is carried out to a safe and high standard. Chimney sweeps registered with the trade body APICS (Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps) are HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) and SFA (Solid Fuel Association) approved. These are competent chimney sweeps who adhere to strict regulations.

Choosing PH Olivier Chimney Sweep provides a professional, comprehensive service offering you reassurance. PH Olivier Chimney Sweep Ltd is HETAS approved, fully qualified and insured, industry trained to rigorous and exceptional high standards in sweeping methods and works in accordance with the APICS code of conduct.

A professional chimney sweep should always use the professional rod and brush system of appropriate size alongside efficient equipment to carry out the job. An industrial BVC vacuum specifically designed for chimney sweeping is used to extract any soot and debris that has fallen down the chimney. Chimney sweeping should never be carried out by using any type of hoover alone.

Having your chimney swept on the recommended frequency will in most cases prevent a build up of soot, creosote and tar deposits. Sweeping clears the chimney of soot, cobwebs, leaves and other debris. This allows dangerous combustion gasses to pass freely through the chimney. This is vital in preventing chimney fires and Carbon Monoxide emissions. Regular chimney sweeping will help to maintain full efficiency of your chimney.

We provide valuable advice on your stoves, fireplaces and chimneys. Stove maintenance checks are undertaken along with advice on how to use your appliance to its full potential. On completion of work we issue HETAS Approved Certificates that are insurance compliant.

The Solid Fuel Association, HETAS, The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service recommend the frequency below. These are Industry guidelines only. Your chimney sweep will take into account factors including appliance and chimney type and condition, fuel usage and frequency of burning and any other contributing factors to consider. You should also consult your insurance policy to establish what their sweeping requirements are for your property. Our courtesy reminder service ensures you stay up to date with sweeping.
• Smokeless Fuels: Minimum once a year
• Bitumous Coal: Minimum twice a year / quarterly when in regular use
• Wood: Quarterly when in regular use
• Gas Appliance: Once a year – if designed for chimney sweeping. Should also be checked by a Gas Safe technician.
• Oil: Once a year. Should also be checked by an OFTEC technician.

The only way to ensure your chimney / appliance/ fireplace is safe to use is to have it swept. We are not always able to establish what could be inside a chimney without inspection and sweeping.

If your chimney has not been swept within 12 months by a registered, qualified chimney sweep then you should not use this until it has been inspected and / or swept by a professional sweep.

We carry out risk & Safety Assessments along with maintenance inspections on your appliance, appliance usage, potential hazards and instalment regulations. We provide a written report outlining safety issues, with remedial and / or referral guidance, where applicable.

Your insurance company could stipulate that your chimney is swept in accordance with industry standard guidelines. Failure to have your chimney swept could potentially invalidate your insurance in the event of a chimney fire.

There are certain safely obligations that landlords and letting agents are legally required to meet. See below for further information. There are strict regulations and industry guidelines that we adhere to. Please refer to our Chimney Sweeping Frequency Guide. This is also covered previously – How often should I have my chimney swept?

Further information can also be obtained on the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service website.

https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/index.cfm?siteCategoryId=1

https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyInTheHome/ChimneyFireSafety/Index.cfm?SiteCategoryId=4&T1ID=35&T2ID=122

The Environmental Health Department at your local council should be able to advise whether your property is subject to any smoke control orders or restrictions. We also recommend visiting the Government website for further advice and information on this. We have been advised from Torridge District Council and North Devon Council that there are no smoke control areas within Torridge or North Devon.

https://www.gov.uk/smoke-control-area-rules

Advice and guidance in Government publications refers to ‘heating systems’, ‘ventilation’, ‘gas appliances’ and ‘flues’. However, as all solid fuel appliances come under the category of heating appliances, this is extended to any type of stove / open fire / appliance producing combustion gasses.

Landlords and letting agents are legally required to meet safety obligations as they are responsible for the safety of their tenants. These include ensuring gas heating systems including chimney and flues and ventilation associated with the gas heating appliance, electrical and heating appliances and ventilation provided are in good, safe working order. All gas appliances and/or flues should be regularly maintained and serviced where applicable. For any gas work, a Gas Safe engineer must carry out this work.

Installation pipe work, appliances, including chimney and flues and ventilation provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition. To ensure a gas safety check is carried out on each appliance and/or flue provided for tenants annually, or within one year of a new gas appliance being installed. To ensure all gas equipment or heating appliances (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or removed before re-letting. Any occupier of the property should allow access for this work to be carried out.

Solid fuel burning / gas / oil appliances / open fires (heating system) all produce poisonous gases that require a clear and unobstructed flue to evacuate these gasses away from the property. Adequate and appropriate size ventilation in the form of air vents or air bricks are also required.

As from 1st October 2015, private sector landlords will be required to install a minimum of one smoke alarm on every storey of their properties and one Carbon Monoxide alarm in all rooms that contain any appliance burning solid fuel. The landlord is responsible to ensure these alarms are in working order prior to any new tenancy commencing.

Further guidance and advice for landlords and letting agents can be found on the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Government websites.

https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/searchResults.cfm?siteCategoryId=1

https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyAtWorkandotherplaces/Adviceforlandlordsandlettingagents/Index.cfm?SiteCategoryId=4&T1ID=36&T2ID=55

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121005154816/

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Planning/ChoosingTradersAndServiceProviders/DG_4018095

We issue insurance compliant HETAS Approved Certificates on completion of work and payment. In the event that the chimney and / or appliance / fireplace is deemed unsafe in accordance with the Health & Safety Act 1974 a written report is issued outlining safety issues, with remedial and / or referral guidance, where applicable.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions / manual. Regulations post April 2002 stipulate that a visible data plate should be present, stating installer’s details, installation date, plus the size and type of liner installed. This may be located in the consumer unit or in close proximity of the appliance.

Installing Eco Design compliant appliances will significantly improve air quality, contributing to fuel burning efficiently. Burning high quality and sustainable and renewable fuel will improve air quality and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions / manual and warranty. It is important to only use fuels that are of a suitable type and size.

Multi fuel stoves are designed to burn various fuels including wood and smokeless coal. The fire grate encompasses moving parts known as a riddling grate or a static grate containing holes.

Woodburners are only designed to burn wood. These stoves have static grates without moving parts or burn directly from the grate. Only burn wood containing less than 20% moisture content.

Wood should be sourced from reliable log suppliers, providing wood fuel certified under the Woodsure “Ready to Burn” scheme, which is confirmed as having less than 20% moisture levels.

It is advisable to only burn hardwoods such as oak and ash as opposed to pine and fir. Wood should be fully seasoned by storing it in a dry location for a minimum of one year.

We recommend contacting your Environmental Health or Protection department of your Local Authority to ascertain whether you are in a Smoke Control Area.

In line with Defra’s Clean Air Strategy, published January 2019, the Government is proposing to introduce a ban on the sale of all bagged traditional house coal. They are also proposing restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning; phasing out the sale of traditional house coal; applying sulphur standards and smoke emission limits to all manufactured solid fuels. This will result in only allowing the sale of smokeless coal (or anthracite) and low sulphur manufactured solid fuels.

A full Risk & Safety Assessment and maintenance checks are carried out. These include smoke tests for draught and drawing; fire rope, stove door glass, fire bricks, baffle plates, dampner and door function. In most cases, provided we are able to obtain appliance parts we are able to replace / repair any faults within these categories. For remedial work that falls under installation and any roof work such as cowl fitting, chimney stack repairs, we refer to a HETAS engineer where applicable.

Please be advised that whilst PH Olivier is a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep, the maintenance checks and repair work carried out are not covered under the HETAS Approved Servicing Scheme.

Yes. Everyone who burns solid fuel and / or uses gas should have both a smoke alarm and an audio Carbon Monoxide alarm. Only install alarms that have the Kitemark symbol. You should have an audio Carbon monoxide alarm for each Carbon Monoxide producing appliance in the property. We can supply and install CO and smoke alarms. Please ask us about this service when booking your sweep appointment. As from 1st October 2015, private sector landlords will be required to install both smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms.

As well as conducting Carbon Monoxide (CO2) alarm and smoke alarm testing, we work in partnership with the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, carrying out risk assessments. Where eligible we will refer you for a Home Fire Safety Visit.

We recommend having your chimney swept at the end of the summer / prior to autumn when the heating season starts. If sweeping is required twice annually or more then also have the chimney swept after the peak of burning season, in the spring / summer. This is weather dependant of course. If your appliance / fire place has not been used for a prolonged period then it should be swept prior to using this again. Having the chimney swept in spring / summer causes less disruption and also the chimney will have had time to dry out after usage.

APICS and HETAS approved chimney sweeps are professionally trained in sweeping techniques designed to keep soot, dust and debris to a minimum. The entrance to the fireplace or stove is completely sealed off to contain any mess. Traditional brush and rod system are used allowing access into all the nooks and crevices. Soot and debris are then removed using a high-tech industrial BVC vacuum, designed specifically for chimney sweeping, to prevent any debris escaping. This process ensures soot and debris are extracted and removed efficiently.

Whilst we pride ourselves on working to meticulous, high standards, chimneys can be unpredictable therefore we would never guarantee that there would not be any mess. In the case of a bird’s nest or other complications a mess could be unavoidable. Where this is the case, we will usually be able to advise you during the chimney inspection, prior to sweeping.
We take every precaution to prevent any mess and are fully insured should there ever be any incident. We also have solid customer service procedures in place in the event of any complaint.

• Allow the fire to go out the previous night so that the fireplace and chimney are cool.
• Ensure there is a clear walkway to the chimney with adequate space for working.
• In accordance with the Health & Safety Act 1974 pets and children should be kept away from the vicinity.
• Remove any items / objects / furniture that may cause an obstruction prior to your sweep’s arrival.
• We will seal off the entrance to the fireplace / stove and provide floor covering which is changed after each appointment. For hygiene purposes we are not able to provide furniture protection so we recommend covering soft furnishings for extra peace of mind.
• Please advise us of any parking restrictions or property access when booking the appointment.
On a traditional note – your children may like to go outside to see the top of the sweep’s brush poking out from the top of the chimney as this is considered good luck.

Visit our Preparing For Your Chimney Sweep Page for further information.
https://pascalsweep.co.uk/preparing-for-your-chimney-sweep/

Do not use your appliance /fire as nests can cause blockages in the chimney, which can be extremely hazardous. Nests of any kind should only be removed by a professional chimney sweep with specialist equipment. If you find live bats contact the Bats Conservation Trust. 0845 1300 228.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Protection of Birds Act 1954 it is illegal to intentionally remove any active bird’s nest. Should this be the only form of heating; hot water; cooking then the nests may be removed providing a qualified pest control officer is present.

Nesting season can start from March until June or August but varies depending on region. Often a sweep is only able to establish that there is a nest present once the sweeping process has commenced.

Insect nests and hives should only be removed from a chimney once the nest has been killed off. Should we discover an insect nest, they will cease work immediately and advise the occupier of appropriate action.

We operate a clear pricing structure with no hourly rates. We charge £55 for a standard chimney sweep. As part of the service a maintenance inspection is carried out and if the chimney is deemed unsafe, these issues are recorded with recommended remedial action and a £30 maintenance inspection fee is payable. There is no additional VAT.

Payment for all services is due within 7 days of invoice. Certificates of Chimney Sweeping will be issued on completion of payment. We accept bank transfer transactions and cheque payments. Please note for hygiene and security reasons, we no longer accept cash payments.

Please refer to our Rates page for further information.
https://pascalsweep.co.uk/prices/

If you have a specific query that is not covered on our website, or would like to arrange an appointment to have your chimney swept, do call us on 01237 473457 between 9am -5pm Mon -Fri. In order for us to provide a full, efficient service we only process bookings via phone and our booking form where we can establish further information. Please be advised that we do not process enquiries or appointments via social media.

Chimney sweeping usually takes between 30 – 40 minutes. However, due to the unpredictable nature of the work involving chimneys / appliances / fireplaces, Pascal may encounter complications that can impede on this time.

Whilst we endeavour to give a specific appointment time, please allow one hour either side. This is to accommodate unforeseen safety issues that could arise. Pascal carries out methodical work with thorough risk assessments and maintenance checks that require due care and attention. As a result, Pascal can be delayed or ahead of schedule. If you have any pressing appointments then we advise scheduling in an alternative appointment.


We understand you occasionally may need to reschedule or cancel. Please notify us 24 hours prior to your appointment to avoid a late cancellation fee of £30. Exceptional circumstances are exempt.

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