Business hots up for Fylde coast chimney sweeps thanks to lockdown

A Fylde coast stoves firm has been cleaning up as lockdown has made people focus on home comforts.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 7:00 am

Harpers Stoves and its chimney sweep business has been busy over the past year and has a bulging order book for the coming weeks.

Partners Jamie Griffiths and Gareth McNeal have seen business soar as more want to keep the home fires burning.

Jamie said: “Wood burning stoves have become extremely fashionable in recent years and more people want that cosy fire.

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Gareth McNeal from Harpers Stoves and Chimney Sweeps

“People are often quite shocked when I say part of our business is chimney sweeps.People expect something out of Mary Poppins.

“But it is nothing like that and we don’t send children up chimneys like in Victoria times!

“The system we use is very clean, we seal up the chimney area with sheeting and use flexible, nylon brushes that are rotated inside the chimney using a power drill.

“We can sweep up to 50 domestic chimneys a week.

Gareth McNeal and Stuart Johnson from Harpers Stoves and Chimney Sweeps

“We have a contract with a brewery too and sweep chimneys from Scotland to Leicester in the pubs which have open fires and wood burners.”

He said the business was founded ten years ago when they spotted a gap in the market for a modern, professional sweep business.

“The industry was getting a lot of bad press at the time so we came along and addressed those issues. We keep all the soot contained and dispose of it correctly.

“Stoves are very popular. I think people are spending a lot more time at home at the moment and want it to look better. Since the Christmas break we have about 60 booked in.”

Business has been good for Gareth McNeal and his team as more people get wood burning stoves to keep cosy in lockdown

He said though not difficult to learn, becoming a sweep can take time and dealing with the soot safely is crucial. The team are Sweep safe and Hetas registered

“Soot is so light, it can become airborne so easily. Stoves and fireplaces should be swept at least once a year for safety, to prevent a fire. If a stove is run properly there should not be much soot.

"But people often burn all the wrong things which causes too much smoke which is also bad for the environment. We have seen people burn old shoes, plastic, rubbish, which they should not do.

“People should burn seasoned wood which has a low moisture content of 20 per cent or below. Then you get a nice clean burn.”

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