August winds are paving the way for spring, new growth and rain. It is time to prepare for spring cleaning and sprucing up for outdoor living. What a lekker thought!

This time of year is also fireplace maintenance and chimney sweep season. Before the rainy season is upon us, it is wise to have the fireplace cleaned, repainted, cowls and flue pipes checked and the chimney freed of the past winters’ soot.

Why, you ask does a chimney need sweeping? Every time a fire is lit in your fireplace, smoke drifts up the flue. In the smoke is a residue called creosote. This builds up on the inner walls of the fluepipe and can become flammable. It can also block the chimney.  In the USA 25000 residential fires caused $100,000,000 damage in one year!

A chimney sweep includes a pre-quote inspection, cleaning, a service, repairs is needed and the sweep itself. Forget Mary Poppins on the rooftops. This is a hard and sometimes hazardous job. It is a necessary service, as it ensures the safety of you and your home, and ensures the longevity of your fireplace.


Spare a thought for chimney sweeps in the Victorian area. Little children as young as four years old were employed because they were small enough to navigate narrow spaces. Often times with dire consequences. In late 1860 a brush system with rope was introduced and safety standards for chimney sweeps improved. Just look at this macabre sketch illustrating the hazards of being a chimney sweep, versus using a brush and rope! Don’t worry we  only use brushes and rope!


Seven-flue_Stack_1834B,C , E and H marks children in danger or dead versus the brush and rope system on the far right,

Annual cleaning spares you a lot of frustration. Sometimes a chimney will leak when the first rain comes. This usually occurs when silicon and waterproofing material weathers over time. Rain has the knack of finding the tiniest hole to leak into a chimney, through the ceiling, into the fireplace hearth. We all know what damage water can cause.

One of the calls we receive most often is a fireplace smoking out of the blue. This often happens when fireplaces are not cleaned at regular intervals.  Causes may be soot clogging the flue pipe, it may be caused by a bird nest or it may be caused by a cowl that is not rotating. A chimney service investigates all possibilities and repairs and or sweeping usually solves the problem.

To arrange for refurbishing, cleaning and chimney sweep, we need to visit the premises. Upon arrival our staff will do an inspection of the chimney and hearth. They will also inspect the chimney above the roof and also make sure the cowl is in good working order. Checks for the integrity of the waterproofing around the chimney are done. Should a cowl need repairing or replacement, this will be additional to the refurbishment and sweep quote. Once the quote is accepted and fees paid, an appointment is made.

A chimney sweep and cleaning requires that you do not use the fireplace at least 12 hours prior to the service. You need to clear out all ornaments and paintings around the fireplace. All old ash in the ash pan needs to be removed. Furniture and carpet in a 2m² areas around the fireplaces must be removed and/or covered.

What to expect when, weather permitting we arrive to clean the fireplace and sweep the chimney:

  • The fireplace hearth is covered to prevent soot from filtering down into the room.
  • Full brush of the flue.
  • Removal of any debris and soot.
  • Smoke test
  • Should work be required on the roof and the cowl need repair or replacement that will be completed.

Look for a chimney sweep in your region and have a hassle free fireplace and braai experience.

Attention all readers in the Limpopo region: For a quote and chimney sweep before the weather changes, contact Lekker fireplaces, braais and décor at 015 -297 3652 or email us at  You can visit us Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 16h30 at 22 Industria Street, Industria, Polokwane. (We are on Google Maps).  Quote will include transport costs  30km and further out from Polokwane.