These past few weeks have seen us picking up an astonishing amount of new business in areas such as Lamberhurst, Westerham, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tonbridge Wells, Hildenborough, Chelsfield and the Knatts Valley areas. We are also seeing an increase in work be generated by referrals and recommendations in our Essex areas which is very pleasing. We have also had a fair amount of enquiries and confirmed bookings for our Wedding Chimney Sweeps Service and are now in the process of re-building the wedding page on our website. Our aim with this part of the site is to give our clients a better and fuller idea as to what we can offer and how far we will go for you to hopefully make that special day even better!
Ok back to the nitty gritty as they say.
We have spent quite a bit of time recently removing Jackdaws, Pigeons and Starlings from chimney flues. We are not sure of the reasons why so many have be dropping down the flues of your chimneys, as in all the cases attended so far, NO NESTS were in situ. We have been highly successful in removing these birds, mainly due to clients contacting us at a very early stage of bird entry, causing them none or very little harm. This, we like to feel, is largely due to our prompt attendance and the methods we use i.e. CCTV, Brush and Specialised Extraction Equipment and a lot of patience on every rescue. So if you do experience a Bird down your chimney give us a call and we will get to you as soon as possible, hopefully on the day of you calling!Unfortunately on some occasions we and other chimney sweeps don’t get the call regarding birds in chimneys or nest problems until many years later and this is usually only because the client is suffering with major damp problems and bad odours in their property. I was recently called to a property where some work had been done to the stack of a chimney and various cowls had been fitted to all the chimney pots at the property. Both of the chambers / fire places servicing the chimney we were called in to deal with had been, sealed off and vented, many years prior to the works up top being undertaken. Upon entering the property we were greeted with the distinct smell of old nest’s and decaying bird carcases. There was also a large damp stain on the chimney breast and wall to the downstairs chimney breast. This breast, we were informed, had been stripped back to the brickwork and had been re-rendered and plastered only a few months previously. We removed the vented board up inside the chamber and retrieved four large bin bags full of very old nests and rubble which were seated on the board. Further inspection with the camera found six other old nest’s which had dropped down the flue to various levels. These were all removed along with approximately 22 dead birds. These birds were all in various stages of decay. Some from many years ago to some which had obviously only been in there for a few months. Once everything had been removed and the chimney swept a CCTV Inspection was performed again to check that the chimney flue was clear of all debris and we also checked for any new signs of damp impregnation.
We were then asked by the home owner if we could check the vent in the wall of the room directly above the chamber we had been working on and found after removing the vent another really wet old nest sitting on what used to be the hearth. This vent was fitted into brickwork which had been installed many years previous to close up an old fire place. The vent was only 4inches long by 2inches high and there was no way we could gain access through it to (1) See what else was inside and (2) be able to retrieve any of the nest. Over the next few days this hole was made larger and we returned to the property to carry out works. This chimney flue was nearly completely full of nests and dampness was found up the flue for around seven feet. We removed all the old nests and damp mortar and another large amount of dead birds, 32 in all, and then performed a CCTV inspection to satisfy ourselves that the flue was clear and also to check the condition of the flue due to the damp problems being incurred. Had these two flue’s been checked and swept prior to any works being carried out to the stack and after the nesting season an awful lot of the problems relating to dampness could have been averted. We always recommend that chimneys which incur regular birds nest should be cleared and swept and have a good quality bird guard fitted if to be retained in use and those that are to be taken out of commission have a vented rain cap fitted.
Air flow in your chimney flue is critical to its condition and state of repair.
Please note: These nests and dead birds were removed from chimney flues which had been capped off (Sealed at the top of the Pots). Clive Scott Chimney Sweeps WILL NOT remove bird’s nests which are active and have eggs or fledglings in them during the nesting season. We will, however, happily come along at the end of August and remove them for you then.
On a lighter note we had a call this summer stating “and I quote” Hi I think my neighbour’s cat, which went missing last week, may have fallen down our chimney as every now and then we keep hearing this meow sounding noise in the lounge! Well the chamber at the base of the flue had been boarded off and vented and our only access was buy removing a spot light which had been inserted into the board and the cats only way of entry was by way of the chimney pot, which I’m thinking is highly unlikely! The light hole in the board was only just big enough to get the camera through and the board itself was designed in such a way that we could look up the flue but not angle the camera sufficiently so as to get the angle to look down into the base of the boarding. The cat was nowhere in sight on the monitors screen as we looked up the flue! So off came the ladders and we were now performing a CCTV inspection from the chimney pot downwards. “I have to say that at this point the lounge was rapidly filling with family, friends and also the cat’s very worried owners. Movement in the lounge, by now, was getting a bit restricted to say the least! The CCTV inspection was now in full flow on the roof, and darkness was fast approaching, but the screen still showed no sign of the missing cat so down we came. I went into the lounge and told them of our findings, or not as it stood, and there was a look of glumness all around. Eventually, after another cup of tea, I got on my knees and started packing up the equipment and just as I was doing so, out of the corner of my eye, a small child went across to her little wooden horse on wheels and started to push it. One of the wheels must have rubbed against the frame of the toy and the sound it made was just like the “meow” of a cat. For a split second the room was in silence and then it erupted with people saying, listen, there it is again, did you hear it, it’s the cat! I had a little chuckle to myself and caught the look on the face of…. I won’t mention any names as promised 😉 … the client who called us to make the booking. He had seen what I had and was speechless. The look on his face was priceless. Outside after all the friends and neighbours had gone we both had a good laugh about the day’s proceedings.
Hopefully the cat made its way home safely from where ever it was at a later date because it definitely wasn’t up that chimney!
Until the next blog stay safe and well.
Krgds Clive Scott