Chimney sweeps clean the chimneys and flues of open fires and other coal, gas, oil and wood-fired heating systems.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a chimney sweep
You can get into this job through:
- working towards this role
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
You could find an experienced chimney sweep to take you on as an assistant and train on the job.
As part of that training, you could complete a Level 2 Certificate in Chimney Sweeping or Level 2 Diploma in Chimney Engineering.
Experience in construction or engineering may be helpful, although not essential to do these courses.
You could take a training course with a professional body.
Become a Chimney Sweep has a summary of training providers who deliver courses from introductory level to advanced.
Many chimney sweeps set up their own business once they have some experience.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join:
- National Association of Chimney Sweeps
- The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
- Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps
- Sweep Safe
They offer training and professional development opportunities.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- excellent verbal communication skills
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a full driving licence
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- inspecting the chimney or flue before cleaning
- protecting the surrounding area so that soot and debris doesn’t escape into a room
- using brushes on extending rods to clean the chimney or flue
- removing soot and debris from the fireplace or appliance using an industrial vacuum cleaner
- advising customers about any potential hazards and faults, and when the chimney or flue will need cleaning again
- using equipment such as smoke-generating machines and CCTV cameras to examine the condition of chimneys and investigate faults
- advising customers on the safe operation and maintenance of chimneys, appliances and flues
You could work at a client’s home or at a client’s business.
Your working environment may be dirty.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
You’ll usually be self-employed, although you may also find jobs with private companies like solid fuel distributors.
It may be possible to buy an existing business.