Jamie Downes – not just a chimney sweep
When we had our log burner fitted (to give it its correct name – dual fuel stove) I realised, a little to my surprise, that we would need to find a chimney sweep. My dad used to sweep our chimney and I remember my mum covering all the furniture with dust sheets, the soot, the mess – and the smell.
Happily times have moved on – there is now a Guild of Master Sweepers – whose members are fully trained, fully insured and very knowledgeable about chimneys, fires, stoves – and flues. And I have found out that chimney sweeping is not the messy business it used to be.
When our chimney gets its regular clean, Jamie also checks our stove over too – and cleans it. Last year he found one of the firebricks had cracked and he told us where we could get a replacement and how to do it – but it was much easier to just ask Jamie to fix it next time he was passing.
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps provides an excellent service – you know your chimney sweep is a real sweep – not a ‘Watchdog’ cowboy – you have someone who is properly trained, with up-to-date training on current safety issues – and your sweep can also provide you with a certificate required by some home insurance policies.
Chimney fires are more common than I realised – and still cause the same amount of soot, mess and smell that they have always done – and they are so easily avoided. Chimneys need cleaning at least once a year to remove the residues given off from burning fuel which are highly combustible and when they build up they can easily catch alight.
Even a chimney/flue with a gas fire needs cleaning occasionally – the recommendation is every 5 years. Any appliance that burns gas, wood, coal or oil, including multi-fuel and oil kitchen Aga/Rayburns, needs a once over to clean and check things like glass, seals, flues and firebricks. Jamie will also check your chimney is safe and he can fit cowls and bird guards.
When Jamie left, our ‘dual fuel stove’ (now I know its correct name) was gleaming, the glass was so clean I had to check it was still there – no mess no fuss – and no smell of soot. Jamie has given me so much advice on what to burn – and not to burn (cardboard being a definite NO) and general safety advice – we have smoke alarms but he also recommended a carbon monoxide monitor for anything that burns carbon based fuels.
Jamie has lots of testimonials like: “Excellent job, Jamie not only cleaned the chimney and serviced our woodburner but also showed me how to use it properly (been doing it wrong for years).” He is based in Whitchurch, for more information visit:
or call Jamie on 01948 820135
Published in the August edition of the Whitchurch Gossip