Chimney Sweep Southampton, Hampshire and surrounding areas

All domestic solid fuel and wood fired appliances require regular and frequent chimney sweeping, even when burning smokeless fuels. A competent individual should carry out this important work, as we are dealing with fire safety issues and the safe removal of poisonous combustion gasses so its worth choosing a chimney sweep carefully.

Unbelievably there is no current requirement for chimney sweeps in the uk to have undertaken any training whatsoever or for them to be registered with any organisation. You should choose a chimney sweep who is a member of The Guild Of Master Chimney Sweeps or The National Association of Chimney sweeps. Members of these organisations have received training not only to sweep chimneys effectively but also regarding the building regulations for fires, stoves and chimneys and should be able to give good advice.

We work to a code of practice and have our insurance checked every year. You expect anyone working on your gas or oil appliance to be trained and registered, chimney sweeping is just as important. In addition to the chimney being swept your fire/stove and its chimney system will be inspected for compliance with building regulations and safety, we then perform a smoke draw test on all flues after every chimney sweep at no extra charge. Finally we will notify you if there are any problems, and issue you with an insurance approved certificate on completion of the work.



How often should your chimney be swept and checked?

  • At least once per year if you use smokeless fuels
  • At least twice per year if you  use bituminous coal
  • Quarterly if burning wood

What are the benefits of chimney sweeping

The primary reason for the sweeping of a chimney is to aid in the prevention of a chimney fire , these extremely fierce fires can be very dangerous and possibly lead to house fires and loss of life. UK fire statistics show that each year chimney fires are on the increase, this is largely due to not getting the chimney swept often enough, or burning fuel that is inappropriate for the appliance and causing tar to build up in the chimney.

Another reason  for the sweeping of flues are to ensure clear passage way which the toxic exhaust gasses can escape through. Deaths through carbon monoxide poisoning have been well documented in the press and a major cause is a blocked flue way. Clean chimneys are safer and help our environment by assisting the complete combustion of fuel  which then reduces emissions in to the atmosphere.

Our Prices

Feb To August Sept To Jan
Standard chimney/flue sweep, (traditional chimney sweep, power sweep or viper) £49 £54
Chimneys that have not been swept for a long time £49 for the first hour, £20 every half hour after
Birds nests £49 for the first hour, £20 every half hour after
Range Cookers (solid fuel) £59 £64
Gas appliances £49 £54
Birdguards From £50
Birdguard Fitting POA

All chimneys swept will have a free smoke evacuation check and an insurance approved certificate on completion of work!


The Guild Of Master Chimney Sweeps has teamed up with CPL Distribution, the UKs biggest supplier of solid fuel to create The Good Fuel Guide to raise standards in the solid fuel industry.

When you book a chimney sweep with R.J.Ralls Solid Fuel Services not only will you get the very best service but you will also receive a free copy of The Good Fuel Guide.

This brilliant handbook is full of useful tips and information from lighting and operating your fire/appliance to correct fuels to use on your fire/appliance to HETAS approved fuels.

Traditional chimney sweeping

The old tried and tested method for sweeping is with the use of rods and a brush, simple and effective in most cases. After inspecting the chimney stack and terminal, dust sheets are laid out appropriately in front of the fireplace and the required tools are set down on them ready to commence work.

The chimney is assessed and the correct size brush and bristle type  is chosen to maximise the cleaning action. Once the correct flue brush is established it is then attached to an appropriate chimney sweeping rod of the correct diameter and usually 3ft long. Once the vac is switched on and the brush inserted into the throat area of the chimney the fireplace/stove can be sealed off using foam blocks or soot sheets.

The chimney is brushed to the terminal by adding one rod at a time, each time a rod is pushed up the flue a clockwise pressure is applied, it is important to state that the chimney/flue should be swept FOUR TIMES either as you go up, or as you descend back down. The flue brush must emerge from the terminal where this is possible and safe.

Once the chimney sweep has swept the chimney/flue thoroughly, final checks will be carried out and any potential problems or dangers reported to the customer.

Power Sweeping

As the role of a chimney sweep today  is far more varied than the chimney sweep of the past, tools and techniques must be able to accommodate this variety. Many modern chimney sweeps today utilise rotary mechanical cleaning systems known as power sweeping. This form of chimney sweeping is highly effective at removing many types of creosote and animal nests.

Usually a commercial battery drill ( 18 volts li 3.0ah ) will be used to turn specialised button lock rods which will have a nylon whip head  in place of a standard chimney sweeps brush. As the head spins it very effectively flails away creosote and sooty deposits, in short power sweeping cleans chimneys quicker and  more effectively.

It also negates the dilemma of what size brush head to use, as the nylon whip head utilises centrifugal force to expand the nylon ends to suit the flue size which is being swept. The force of the sweeping action is controlled by the speed of the drill, for e.g. if we were to do an older style chimney with loose or worn sides then we would use a low speed ( 1st gear on the drill ), however if were doing a heavily built up clay liner we would increase the speed giving us an increased effectiveness at cleaning.

We personally do not recommend power sweeping stainless steel chimney liners, only because we do not know how the system has been fitted at the top unless we have fitted it ourselves. If the  liner has not been sleeved at the top after being cut to size, then the nylon flails could potentially snag and damage the system, not at all good.

There are many attachments that are available to fit on the button lock rods, it is not just restricted to the nylon whip ends for cleaning chimneys. For e.g. it has a clay lining removal tool, or a birds nest remover head, or a chain whip end for removing tar on clay liners. The list goes on, for more information on power sweeping visit: “WE ONLY USE RODTECH POWER SWEEPING PRODUCTS AND ARE RODTECH POWER SWEEPING APPROVED.”


Vipers are now a days a truly essential tool for any chimney sweep. Using a viper enables a chimney sweep to sweep stainless steel lined chimneys of all types without causing damage. This is due to the one piece flexible design which is also extremely fast in use as there is no need to attach separate rods together.

One continuous rod that is coiled inside the viper, and smoothly uncoils when cleaning and is very flexible which enables it to follow the contours of the liner. In our opinion it should only be used in the sweeping of stainless steel liners that are not heavily tarred or extremely dirty, or on clay lined chimneys with the stainless steel star attachment on the end which is able to cut through tar.