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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to the questions you may have about chimney maintenance  and safety.

For customers

Why should I choose an APICS sweep?

APICS was set up in 2002 to ensure sweeps are properly trained and stringently assessed to ensure the best possible outcome for customers. We are also a friendly group, there is no “them and us” in APICS, we all work together. We do not interfere in your daily lives. we do not insist that you use our sweeping certificates, although we can supply a master copy for your use.

Although the chairman is now paid for his services, this is only after many years of unpaid service.

No other association offers part of its profits back to members in the form of a refund of up to £100 per year for extraneous courses connected with the trade. (CCTV, Thatch, Power etc.)

No other association gives all members an opportunity to vote on policies at two meetings every year.

No other association subsidises all members for the cost of meals at the meetings.

No other association makes no charge for trade stands at meetings, we just ask for a raffle prize.

How often should I sweep my chimney?

To help prevent a chimney fire occurring in your property, you should ensure your chimney is swept as often as recommended by the Solid Fuel Association.

Appliance Frequency:

  • Smokeless Fuel Once per year
  • Coal twice per year
  • Wood Burning Quarterly when in use
  • Gas Once per year if designed for chimney sweeping
  • Oil Fired Once per year

How do I check my stove door gasket?

On a cold stove, place a thin strip of newspaper between the door and the stove. Shut the door tightly and see if you can pull the paper out. Try this in several different positions around the door. If the paper can be pulled out adjust the door or rope replacement may be necessary.

Should I have my stove serviced?

All heat producing appliances should be serviced minimally once a year. Many professional chimney sweeps provide this service. This may be a separate charge or may be included in the chimney sweeping service.

Do I need to have a 'lined' chimney swept?

Yes, contrary to belief, once you have had a liner installed on your appliance it is very important to sweep the chimney on a regular basis. Yearly minimal intervals are recommended however, it may be necessary to sweep the flue/chimney every three months when in use.

Ask your chimney professional for advice, sweeping intervals can vary dramatically depending on the type of flue, type of appliance, if there is a boiler fitted, and the amount of chimney draw you have.

Do I need to have my gas fire or gas heating appliance chimney swept?

Yes, all heat producing appliances should have the chimney swept on an annual basis. See information below.

The great gas switch-over: Gas Safe Register replaces CORGI 30th March 2009

Gas Safe Register’s top tips to keep you and your family gas safe:

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer for any gas work in your home – and check their ID card.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are safety checked and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, or at least once a year.
  • If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord must arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out a safety check every year on all gas appliances. You should be given a copy of the safety certificate before you move in or within 28 days of the safety check. If you don’t have this certificate, ask your landlord.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm, which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak: turn off the gas at the meter, extinguish naked flames, open windows and leave the area. Seek medical advice if you feel unwell. Call the Gas Emergency Freephone number 0800 111 999.

Find and check a Gas Safe registered engineer by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 408 5500.

For sweeps

Why should I choose APICS membership?

APICS was set up in 2002 to ensure sweeps are properly trained and stringently assessed to ensure the best possible outcome for customers. We are also a friendly group, there is no “them and us” in APICS, we all work together. We do not interfere in your daily lives. We do not insist that you use our sweeping certificates, although we can supply a master copy for your use.

Although the chairman is now paid for his services, this is only after many years of unpaid service.

No other association offers part of its profits back to members in the form of a refund of up to £100 per year for extraneous courses connected with the trade. (CCTV, Thatch, Power etc.)

No other association gives all members an opportunity to vote on policies at two meetings every year.

No other association subsidises all members for the cost of meals at the meetings.

No other association makes no charge for trade stands at meetings, we just ask for a raffle prize.

What is the role of the Steering Committee?

The Steering Committee is a collection of members, voted for by the members, to represent the whole association. This allows decision making to be taken without all the unwieldy necessity of contacting every member for an opinion on every decision. Members have the opportunity to finalise decisions at two meetings a year.

Do the chairman and steering committee receive payment?

The administrator receives a small remuneration on an hourly basis. The chairman, after many years of voluntary work, now receives a monthly payment. Decisions made by the S/C are taken to one of our full meetings for approval. The steering committee are not paid but do receive accommodation costs and a travelling refund, in line with all professional national trade associations.

Will I be informed if another APICS sweep is moving into my area?

Yes, if it’s a new sweep applying for membership in an area already covered by an existing APICS sweep; no, if it’s an existing sweep extending his/her area. Each sweep has the right to work anywhere they choose and the profile system allows members to indicate where they want to work. It would be impossible to check the website hourly, in case someone decided to enlarge their area, and then search our records to find if that encroached on another patch.

Can I stop a new sweep gaining membership in my area?

No. You subscribe to a membership, you have not bought a franchise for your area.

Can I have more than one brush on the website?

Only if you are moving areas and only for a temporary period.

Can I ask questions at meetings?

Yes. However, in an effort to remove the confrontational aspect of question and answer formats, we ask members to forward any questions to the steering committee for consideration before the meeting, to give time for reasoned consideration. The answers can then be given at the meeting, but if a two-thirds majority disagree with a committee decision, then a postal ballot of all members will be called.

FIND A SWEEP

Find an APICS Chimney Sweep in your area

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