The importance of chimney sweeping

The importance of chimney sweeping

The Importance of Chimney SweepingIn recent newsletters we discussed Defra’s Clean Air Strategy and what it means for our industry. This month we look at the importance of chimney sweeping and appliance maintenance in the strategy.

The Defra Clean Air Strategy which was launched back in May and runs through until the 14th August. In June and July we covered some key elements of the strategy and what it means for our industry, this included the popular ‘Ban on wood stoves’ article which has been shared widely on social media. Check out the articles in the following links:

Defra’s Clean Air Strategy

Ban on wood stoves | the truth of it all

The Clean Air Strategy

Defra’s Clean Air Strategy summarises actions to reduce emissions from domestic burning, clearly identifying there is no intention to ban wood burning stoves.

  • Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels.
  • Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.
  • Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution, bringing legislation into the 21st century with more flexible, proportionate enforcement powers.
  • Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.
  • Ensure that consumers understand what they can do to reduce their impact from burning.

The Importance of Chimney Sweeping

This month we focus on the importance of chimney sweeping and appliance maintenance within the strategy. HETAS has been liaising with Defra for some time encouraging Defra to engage with the chimney sweeping associations on this important issue.

In the recent ‘Call for Evidence’ it was identified to Defra that “chimney sweeps highlighted the point that how a stove is used can have a significant impact on emissions.” The strategy also goes on to state “The stove, fuel and chimney sweep industries have been proactive in recognising the benefits to them and their customers from promoting those fuels, stoves and actions which will reduce air quality impacts. This is making it easier for consumers to understand the benefits of cleaner fuels, appliances and chimneys.”

 On the importance of chimney sweeping and the role of professional chimney sweeps the strategy says “The way in which we use our stoves can have a big impact on air quality and how long the chimney and stove will last. A local professional sweep can help consumers get it right, ensuring that they get the most from their stoves and provide advice on optimum operation. This can help save money and avoid chimney fires.”

 Proactive Approach

The proactive approach from industry includes Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme and the Burnright campaign. Burnright was launched in March and is a chimney sweep led campaign. In July representatives from the Association of Professional, Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS), the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, the Institute of Chimney Sweeps (ICS) and the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) met and pledged their support for the Burnright campaign. HETAS fully supports this approach from the associations and is hopeful this will drive this sector of our industry forward.

The recently formed Chimney Safety Group meet again this month as industry is working together to become part of the solution.

Read the full Clean Air Strategy here.

As always, stay tuned to our newsletters and the HETAS website for updates on the Clean Air Strategy, Chimney Safety Group and much more. The HETAS team is always happy to answer your queries and can be contacted on 01684 278170 or via our Contact page.

Chimney Safety Group

Chimney Safety Group Formed

Chimney Safety GroupOrganisations responsible for the safety and maintenance of chimneys and flues have come together to form a Chimney Safety Group to promote and offer solutions to chimney related problems in the UK.

HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing & Approvals Scheme) is joining forces with APICS (Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps), The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) and The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps to influence legislation, organisations, government departments and standards committees.

The group will draw on the strengths of the independent organisations and will meet to deal with common safety concerns and support awareness initiatives, such as Chimney Safety Week. The unique access of chimney sweeps will be used to influence consumer safety and awareness.

The partnership of equals creates a stronger voice for educating the UK public on chimney and flue issues, with the core aim of reducing air pollution and chimney-related accidents.

When should I get my chimney swept?

When should I get my chimney swept?

When should I get my chimney swept?Once again this year, HETAS was proud to support Chimney Fire Safety week which took place from 4th-10th September.

Whilst there was a reduction in nationwide chimney fires, there were still over 5,000 avoidable chimney fires in England and Wales – April 2016 to March 2017.

Our team is often asked “When should I get my chimney swept?”

HETAS encourage having your chimney swept at least twice a year when burning wood or bituminous housed coal and at least once a year when burning smokeless fuels.

The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used over a prolonged period.  If sweeping twice a year, the second time should be after the peak of the main heating season.

Use a Professional

HETAS recommends that chimney sweeping is best carried out by a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep.  In order to maintain high standards of sweeping, HETAS is associated with these professional bodies: The Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS), The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps (GoMCS) and The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS).

Brought to you by Fire Kills, HETAS and the three chimney sweep associations, the below website will provide you with tips and guidance to avoid having a chimney fire.

http://www.chimneyfiresafetyweek.co.uk/

Click here to find your local HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep.

All HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps will be able to provide an identity card.  Always ask to see identification before a sweep carries out any work.

Further Guidance and Advice

To download a free HETAS Advice Leaflet on Operating and Maintaining your stove – click here!

The HETAS team is available to call on 01684 278170 or email click here to visit our Contact Page.

HETAS Committee & Standards Work

HETAS Committee & Standards WorkHETAS Committee & Standards Work

In an ever-changing industry of legislation and regulatory requirements, HETAS remains at the forefront of solid fuel appliance and related technology standards development, to effectively promote and ensure continued improvement of the safe and efficient installation of solid fuel appliances, ancillary equipment and their maintenance.

Achieving Objectives

HETAS achieves these objectives through the leading, supporting and attendance at a wide range of industry technical and regulatory committees. Through these meetings industry shares information and drives discussions and actions in key areas of safety and technology. Current subjects include fuel quality, appliance test methodology, air quality and installation best practices, to name a few.

Most of our industry organisations work in close partnership and key players put a lot of time and effort in to working together e.g. for chimney safety HETAS would work with organisations like the BFCMA, Chimney Sweeps’ Associations (APICS, Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and National Association of Chimney Sweeps), Stove Industry Alliance, Woodsure; and seeking technical back-up from the UK Test Labs like Kiwa, BSRIA and BBA. The committee structure includes work on dry and wet appliances, biomass boilers and heating systems so we also work with key industry organisations like HHIC, the Hot Water Association as well as manufacturer associations.

A particular area of importance where these technical activities are addressed further is through HETAS’s involvement within the BSI committee standards arena, whose responsibility it is to relay the UK’s agreed response to issues raised and actions required, and input these into CEN, and the relevant technical committee making decisions at a European level.

Committee Work

HETAS currently hold the Chairmanship of the national UK mirror committee for solid fuel RHE/28, which encompasses members from all areas of the industry, from manufacturers and installers to test laboratories and government representatives, who work through the development of appliance, installation and relevant code of practice requirements for the UK solid fuel industry. RHE/28 works closely with CEN TC295: the European committee looking after appliance standards to ensure future requirements meet the European legislation and future EU commission requirements.

Work items through these committees are an important step in ensuring future appliance manufacture and installation standards are robust, whilst at the same time promoting a safe and efficient environment for installers, retailers and most importantly the consumer. HETAS works hard to make these standards manageable and relevant to registered businesses.

Technical Committee

In support of this, HETAS also operates the HETAS Technical Committee, a forum to promote the safe design, installation and use of solid fuel and biomass appliances by way of;

  • Providing technical expertise to Government consultations
  • Ensuring the revision and creation of British and European Standards are made in a safe and usable manner
  • Work to reduce or remove future threats to the industry from unworkable regulations
  • Actively fight to stop the sale of illegal products
  • Work to ensure European Directives can be implemented without damaging UK industry
  • Provide HETAS with knowledge of industry issues, to allow HETAS to best target its resources when influencing government.

Matters of action within the HTC include research projects and some testing work which explore and provide evidence to back-up any suggested amendments or improvements on safety within national legislation and the Building Regulations, as well as development of alternative installation practice approaches in the absence of any such requirements for new and innovative products not yet covered by statutory guidelines.

More information on HETAS and its related activities can be found on the HETAS website at www.hetas.co.uk

New HETAS Service and Maintenance Course for 2017

New HETAS Service and Maintenance Course for 2017

Solid fuel appliances are well known for their high quality, robust construction and durability. However, like any product in continuous use they do require attention by the user and routine servicing by an engineer. HETAS recommends that appliances are serviced at least once a year or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

HETAS Service and Maintenance Course

In support of the requirements, HETAS has launched a Service & Maintenance course designed to ensure engineers are equipped with the knowledge and practical skills to undertake such work. The two-day practical course is ideal for businesses that don’t wish to undertake installation work such as professional chimney sweeps, maintenance operatives and local authorities with housing stock using solid fuel as a primary heat source.

Collaboration

This new course has been developed in collaboration with the three HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep associations, APICS, GOMCS and NACS. The course is now available at HETAS Approved Training Centres nationwide. Click here to find your local training centre.

Click here to find out more about this new HETAS training course which is being delivered by our network of HETAS Approved Training Centres.HETAS Service and Maintenance Course

HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps Directory

Chimney Sweeps DirectoryHETAS Listed Chimney Product logo

At the end of October HETAS launched its new HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps Directory and we have sent copies to our approved Sweeps and Retailers as well as Local Authorities, Fire & Rescue Services, Housing Associations and homeowners.

Working with our three recognised chimney sweeping associations, The Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps, The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and The National Association of Chimney Sweeps, HETAS is pleased to have launched the first HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps Directory to further promote to consumers the importance of using a trained and registered chimney sweep.

The Directory also includes some top tips for consumers to make the most of their heating system, from choosing the right fuel through to what to expect on the day a sweep visits their home.

The Directory will be updated regularly as new sweeps sign up and contact details change for existing sweeps. Copies of the HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep Directory are available via the HETAS Shop or by contacting the team on 01684 278170.

HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps Directory

To be listed in the Directory chimney sweeps are required to be a member of one of HETAS’ nominated chimney sweeping associations, APICS, Guild or the NACS. The induction, training and assessment procedures of the trade associations represent to HETAS that you are a competent practical sweep with the appropriate equipment and insurance.

Visit www.hetas.co.uk/professionals/chimneysweeps/join-now to find out more and to download your application pack to become a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep, contact the Registration team on 01684 278170 or email info@hetas.co.uk.

Click here to search for HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps on the HETAS website.

New look for APICS | Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps

New Look for APICS

APICS LogoAPICS is pleased to announce the upgrading of their web site undertaken by Elliot Forte of Business Think.

Formed in April 2002, APICS is a friendly organisation, recognising that chimney sweeps are independent and should be allowed to get on with their daily work without interference.
Elliot has done a great job updating the website and members are delighted with the results. Each member has their own profile page on the site and is now able to upload photos and documents more easily.

The ‘find a sweep’ function works very well and should help the public to locate their nearest sweep quickly. Take a look at the new website at apics.org.uk or contact admin@apics.org.uk to find out more about membership.