Yes! 100% and please do not be tempted to “try it out” before it’s swept. A chimney fire isn’t the kind of housewarming you want. Your Guild sweep can also help identify potential defects and dangers.
This is a very good question to ask when booking any sweep. The answer should be – No or very rarely. Guild sweeps have a number of best practice techniques for preventing dust escapes. A rare exception may be when the chimney is blocked with a bird’s nest or if the installation is sub standard. Ask them if you should take precautions.
For certain appliances, there are recommended fuels and these should use as per manufacturers guidance. As a general fuel the Guild recommends dry seasoned wood. It is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. If you prefer solid fuels, find your local Approved Coal Merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you. There are some interesting new fuel mixes coming to the market and your local Guild sweep may well have some useful information for you.
If a chimney is closed off it can get a bit damp. This can turn soot in to an acidic slurry. In an old chimney this slurry can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If bad enough, it can penetrate through to the room where it will cause unsightly stains on the walls. Plaster may need to be removed and the brick treated before re-plastering and redecorating. An unused chimney should always be swept and given a little ventilation top and bottom. Ask your Guild sweep how best to do this for your situation.
Smoke is leaking back into the room, and could be Immediately Dangerous. Don’t use the fire. Contact your local Guild Sweep immediately and seek their advice.