Chimney sweeps clean the chimneys of open fires.

What does a chimney sweep do?

Chimney sweeps clean the chimneys of open fires. These include coal, gas, oil and wood-fired heating systems. They help to reduce the risks of chimney fires and dangerous fumes. 

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • making an inspection of the chimney or flue before cleaning
  • protecting the surrounding area so soot and debris does not escape into a room
  • using brushes on extending rods to clean the chimney or flue
  • removing soot and debris from the fireplace or appliance using an industrial vacuum cleaner
  • advising the customer about any potential hazards and faults, and when the chimney or flue will need cleaning again
  • using equipment such as smoke-generating machines and CCTV cameras to examine the condition of chimneys and investigate faults
  • advising customers on the safe operation and maintenance of chimneys, appliances and flues

What do I need to do to become a chimney sweep?

You would normally have to find an experienced chimney sweep to take you on and train you on the job. Once you complete your training and have some experience, you could set up as self-employed and start your own business.

A driving licence is essential, as you will have to travel between jobs and transport your equipment.

Membership of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS), the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps or the Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS) will show customers you are a competent chimney sweep and work to strict standards governed by a code of practice. Your details would be included in the organisations’ business directories, which customers can search online.

Related skills

  • Customer service
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • Physical fitness
  • Time management

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Most of your work would be in private houses, but you could also work on heating systems on industrial or commercial premises. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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