Chim Chim Cher-ee Year For Sweeps
With energy prices soaring there has been a significant switch in how people now heat their homes, over 50% of all the homes in the UK have a solid fuel burning fireplace which means that chimneys require sweeping across the country once more. Despite falling out of favour during the 20th century it is still considered lucky for a bride to see a chimney sweep on her wedding day, and now the art of chimney sweeping is making a huge comeback.
Chimney Sweeping Boom
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps jumped from 30 to 540 since 1982, showing that despite being regarded as something of a comical character in British history (Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins as a musical, cockney chimney sweep) the trade is alive and well. While coal was the messiest fuel to burn there is still an issue of safety and cleanliness when it comes to burning wood in your fireplace.
What’s Behind The Rise?
The simple reason behind this resurgence is energy prices. It costs far more to heat your home using electricity (11p per kilowatt-hour) and gas (4p per kilowatt hour) than a wood burner (2.5p per kilowatt-hour) so it is unsurprising that families are switching from the reliance on central heating to the fireplace. Most homes have held up well and so still have their chimneys allowing occupants the option to start using a log burner, something some modern homes don’t have.
On top of the financial benefit to having an open fireplace there has been something of a fashion boom, with home-shows and magazines showing pictures of luxurious and comforting homes aglow with the light from a real fire. They don’t have to look traditional or boring either, you can have them in the middle of the room as a focal point if you find the right company to install one.
Business is booming for the chimney sweeps since if you’re using an open fire, or even a gas fire, your chimney will need to be checked out at least once a year. Once winter rolls around the sweepers are in high demand, if you don’t have your chimney cleaned or inspected regularly you could end up with blockages or damage to the chimney itself. This could lead to the harmful fumes and smoke feeding back into your property and doing serious damage to your health. Animals too could become trapped or take up nesting inside the chimney and die without you knowing, a chimney sweep will talk care of these problems however to give you peace of mind when using your chimney.
Developments In The Industry
Training is open to newcomers and the technology is much further advanced than it once was, now there are rotary brushes rather than young boys crawling up the chimney. With an emphasis on learning new skills it is unsurprising that chimney sweeping could be lucrative for new starters with an experienced mentor. Many traditions are lost over time but this seems like one set to stick around that little while longer.
Whether you have a coal burner, wood burner or even a gas fireplace then make sure you have your chimney swept this winter to ensure it is functioning to the best of its ability this winter.