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Power chimney sweeping in Andover

Chimney sweeping in Andover today. We use both manual and power sweeping equipment to clean wood burners and open fires. Power sweeping is done by attaching a drill to specially designed chimney sweeping rods that spin round and knock off any soot or tar. If chimney sweeping a older property we sometimes opt for traditional rods and brushes as this is a gentler way of cleaning a flu and avoids any unnecessary damage. If you need a chimney sweep in Andover please call us today.

Winchester chimney sweep

Chimney sweeping in Winchester today. I came across a jackdaws nest in a chimney flu which was removed, a quick camera inspection assured me the chimney was clear, clean and safe to use. If you need a fully qualified chimney sweep in Winchester please call us today.

Chimney sweeping in Winchester

Chimney sweeping in Winchester this week. If you burn predominantly coal on your fire we advise you to sweep your appliance twice in the burning season. Coal produces a lot for soot then wood hence the need for an additional sweep.

Sweeping a wood burner in Andover

Out and about chimney sweeping in Andover today. We sweep both wood burner flues and open fires and recommend you sweep your flue once a year (twice a year if burning coal).

If you have a wood burner that needs a fully qualified and insured chimney sweep to give it a thorough clean, please give Test Valley sweeps a call. We cover Andover, Winchester, Romsey and Southampton.

Bird nest removal in Winchester

While chimney sweeping in Winchester today I came across this old jackdaws
Nest. Removing a bird’s nest from a chimney can take time…in this case 3 hours and 7 bin bags of nesting material removed…you have to respect a jackdaws tenacity !!!! Once the nest was removed a camera inspection was completed to make sure the chimney was clear.

If you suspect a bird’s nest or need a chimney sweep in Winchester, Andover or Romsey, please give us a call us today.

Alternative method to starting a fire

Most commonly, a small fire of kindling wood is stacked and bigger logs are added to this. The trouble with this, is that as gases are released from the bigger logs, there are no flames at the top to ignite them. They will pollute rather than give heat. There is a solution….place your logs on the bottom of your stove, then place your kindling on top of these. Soon the fire will burn its way down; as the logs heat up and produce gas, there will always be fire on top to ignite them.

This method also works well, as you can start a fire and keep it burning in one step. This is particularly helpful in wood burning stoves when opening the door to add more logs. When the stove is not up to efficient burning temperature, smoke can easily escape back into the room through the open door, when using the usual method of adding kindling before logs.

How to burn wood with minimum pollution

Fires smoke and pollute it they do not burn intensely. A temperature of 300 – 350 degrees Celsius is required to burn all the gases emmited from wood. At a lower temperature, the gases (smoke) will go up the chimney unburned. For this reason, a hot fire will burn cleanest; all the pollution is simply turned into heat. You will get a good indication of how efficiently your fire is operating, by simply going outside to check the colour of the smoke. There should only be a thin, pale emission from the chimney. Once your house is warm, control the temperature by the amount of wood you add not by closing the airvent.

Signs of a bird’s nest

Now that the bird nesting season is well and truly over, it’s a good time of year to remove bird’s nests. If in the summer months you noticed sticks falling down your chimney, or heard birds cooing or making a noise for a consistent amount of time, it’s very possible you may have a bird’s nest in your chimney. Removing a bird’s nest from a chimney, is a reasonably straightforward task. However it can take considerably longer than a standard chimney sweep. Hence, if we are called out for a standard chimney sweep and encounter a bird’s nest, we generally need to make a new appointment to come back at a later date. If you are in Winchester, andover, romsey or Southampton and suspect a bird’s nest in your chimney, please call us today.

Local Hardwood Species

Here in Hampshire, the main hardwood species used for firewood are Ash, Beech, Silver Birch, Oak & Sycamore. Each species has its own individual merits. Ash is a good all round firewood and burns easily with little smoke. Contrary to popular belief, ‘green ash’ doesn’t burn at all well. It does have a naturally low moisture content, but needs further seasoning before burning. Beech is one of the finest woods to burn. It burns hot and for a long time. Beech has many uses, other than firewood; this means that it doesn’t appear on the firewood market as much as some would like.

Birch is a wonderful and often overlooked species. It’s a ‘pioneer’ species, seeding freely and improving soil quality for other trees and shrubs. It’s a good clean firewood and has a lovely scent when burned. Oak is a very dense wood and has a tendency to smoulder, rather than burn. Ideally, it’s best mixed with lighter woods, such as birch or sycamore. Allow plenty of airflow into your appliance, split the logs small and it will, once mastered, give a hot and long fire. Sycamore is another underrated firewood species. It grows quickly, splits easily and is relatively quick to season. It’s a good general all purpose firewood.

Hints and tips for getting the most out of your wood burner

The most fundamental thing to get right is to make sure that you burn dry wood. Buy your wood from a good and reputable supplier, or dry it yourself over the summer months. As far as your stove is concerned, the most important thing is to never completely close the air vent to “keep the fire in”.

This is the best way to prevent soot and tar build-up; also to prevent the glass on your stove blackening up. It is always better to have a hot, fast burn, as this is the most efficient way of using your woodburner. If in doubt, a small magnetic stove thermometer is a great idea. This will help to maintain the optimum temperature and can be bought for under a tenner.

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