Chimney sweeps clean up as fuel bills rise

A chimney sweep works on top of a roof during sunset in the eastern German city of Weisswasser December 29, 2003. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

LONDON (Reuters) - In parts of Britain it is considered lucky for a bride to see a chimney sweep on her wedding day.

A great many more brides will be blessed then, if the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) is to be believed, due to a marked rise in business.

As the nights draw in many people are scouring the phone books for chimney sweeps as they look to use their fireplaces once more to cut rising fuel bills.

The rising price of fuel has led to a surge in householders opening up their fireplaces and chimneys, the NACS has claimed.

“In the last year we’ve seen a huge rise in the older generations ripping out their gas fires and opening up their fireplaces,” Martin Glynn the NACS president said in a statement.

Kim Harrison of Ace Chimney Specialists, Lincolnshire, confirmed that her business was busier than normal, even taking into account the seasonal upturn in trade which is expected at this time of year.

“People are opening up fireplaces which have been closed for years,” Harrison said. “People are also ordering in wood burning stoves, and multi-fuel stoves, with an eye to turning their central heating off entirely this winter.”

Harrison went on to say that the number of people ordering back boilers, powered by wood burning stoves, has also increased significantly, as people look to alternatives to gas heating all over the house.

Editing by Paul Casciato