Katie Sweep | Chimney Knowledge and Training

I certainly do not profess to knowing it all; But I am always eager to learn Chimney Knowledge and Trainingand regularly find myself asking questions as to the ‘How’s, What’s and Why’s’ of day to day life, day to day Sweeping, the developments of things within our industry and the world in general!

I am a firm believer that even without really trying to, you learn something new every day.

I love to learn and only last week when I was trying to impart some of my chimney knowledge regarding some technical chimney issue to a nice new customer, they proceeded to go on to called me a ‘’Chimney Geek’’!

This really did make me laugh, and I suppose they are right that I am a bit of a Chimney Geek! …but not as bad as some I know might I just add…you know who you are.

So what have I been up to?... I think that should be re-phrased to ‘what haven’t I been up to!’

Although summer is supposed to be a quieter time for a Chimney Sweeps I have been as busy as ever with numerous things and in this past month or so I have certainly learnt a lot too.

Clocking up on my mileage, I have been off once again venturing down the country.

This time to The NACS Training Centre to add to my sweeping qualifications by attending the ‘CCTV Inspection & Survey Training Course' & 'Flexible Flue Linings Course'.

A really interesting few days, meeting some great sweeps, learning and adding to my sweep knowledge base. Each course is held over one training day and is part of the NACS additional qualifications that are available to all NACS sweeps (and even sweeps from other associations). As well as the 2 courses that I attended there are also ‘Flue smoke testing’, ‘Rooftop and Ladder Safety’ and ‘Chimney Maintenance’ courses available.

Chimney Knowledge and Training 2My posh certificates for the CCTV & Liner course have just arrived in the post, all be it a little creased by our Postman from him bending them in half to fit them in the ‘Post Pot’ (this is my chimney pot and bonnet ventilation cowl that I made in to our post box at home). That’s the price you pay for being unconventional I suppose.

Fast forward a week or so from the NACS training and I was off again. Next stop on my travels was to The National Association of Chimney Sweep’s Annual General Meeting … AKA ‘The NACS AGM’ I was particularly looking forward to this trip as with one thing and another and having young children, I had not been able to attend in past years, so I was very pleased to finally be able to make it.

A very interesting and productive gathering, with lots of exciting future developments, as well as being a great chance to catch up with all the NACS sweeps who had also travelled from far and wide from across the country. Chimney Sweeps seem to love a good gathering.

Chimney Knowledge and Training 4Other things I have learnt this month come in the form of now knowing my smoke alarms from my heat alarms.  Following on from the insightful Honeywell article in last month’s issue of  Fireplace.co.uk all about their range of alarms, I was lucky enough to be kindly invited along to visit the very nice people at Honeywell in Poole in Dorset.

…Yes another trip down the country, I know.

For those of you not in the know Honeywell manufacturers & assemble (amongst other things) a range of exceedingly high-quality Carbon Monoxide alarms, as well as Smoke and Heat alarms right here in the UK.

My Husband and traveling companion Tom and I received some excellent information & advice that reaffirms how very important it is to have a quality 'Working' CO & Smoke Alarm in your Home. I now know all about the most suitable alarm for certain rooms and the importance of an optical sensor smoke alarm over a traditional ionisation sensor alarm. Fascinating stuff. Last month’s article all about the types of alarms is well worth a read and if you missed it last time, I am quite sure it is now on the Fireplace.co.uk website Information Hub.

Back home in good old North Yorkshire, when not galivanting up and down the country, we have been keeping busy sweeping and of late I have been carrying out a lot of stove servicing and maintenance work.

With so many stoves out there now this has been a good string to add to our bow, and our Summer Sweep and Servicing offer for our customers has been very well received.

Chimney Knowledge and Training 3I am booked onto the HETAS H009 service and maintenance course (31st Aug,1st Sep) at The NACS HQ, so I am looking forward to that as I have heard good things about it from fellow sweeps who have already taken the course and I hope to be able to perfect my servicing skills and to learn a few more things along the way.

Whoop for the ‘Hearth and Homes Exhibition’! As well as the H&H Exhibition being an excellently hosted annual event and having all the latest in all things fireplace it is also a super social gathering of everyone in the industry… my very favourite bits about the H&H is that it is literally 20 minutes’ down the road from where I live... Actually, in North Yorkshire. Brilliant! It doesn’t get much better than that I’ll tell thee.

We attended on the Sunday and had a cracking day… without even having to travel the country to attend. Sorry everyone else who did have to travel, but well worth it I’m sure you would agree.

On a closing note as I cannot possibly cram anymore in to my Sweep Diary this month -

A very important thing I have learnt when traveling up and down the country many a time is ‘’You can Take the lass out of Yorkshire but you can never take Yorkshire out of the lass’’

I hope everyone enjoyed the H&H as much as me.
… and Happy sweeping to all.


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