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Master Chimney sweep status awarded

Learning a craft has always been a labour of love, established on a foundation of passion and built upon with a plethora of knowledge and experience. I am delighted to share the news that as of May 2023, I have obtained the Master Sweep status, awarded to me by the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

I began my journey into the world of chimney sweeping with a common misunderstanding of what a Chimney Sweep does – Heck, I wasn’t even aware that Chimney Sweeps were still even a thing until I moved to rural France! As I began my research into what was required to become a Chimney Sweep, I thought the job was little more than a sooty bloke turning up to your house, running a brush up and down the chimney, tipping his hat whilst offering a ‘lucky’ handshake before being on his merry way to sweep another flue. Although the Dick Van Dyke impersonation of a sweep may have been accurate to its time, I was shocked to discover a Chimney Sweep is now much more than a sweeper of Chimneys.

Having arrived in France with the plan to stay for only a few months, I had little more than GCSE level French and was certainly not in a position where I could take technical French courses on Chimney Sweeping. After a lengthy back and forth correspondence with the Chambres de Métiers et de l’Artisanat (CMA), explaining my situation, it was revealed that certain associations and courses in the UK were seen as equivalent to the French CAP and thus, should I complete these, I could become a registered Chimney Sweep in France.

My first taste of sweeping a chimney came in the form of my first day of training with the Chimney Sweep Academy in the UK. It was instantly clear that the majority of my new role was not going to be the very thing it was based around, sweeping chimneys. Almost all of my initial training was theory based, learning about the very principals of combustion, understanding the construction and intricacies of chimney systems, how they functioned and understanding why and how things can go wrong. It turned out the role of a modern-day chimney sweep is more of a technician role where you are responsible for understanding the labyrinth of technicalities and minute details which impact complex chimney systems rather than just for how clean the chimney is. This intensely theory-based industry lit a spark in me and I became obsessed with learning everything there is to know about chimneys.

It wasn’t long after that I enquired into joining the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps. Another trip back to the UK for further training and my knowledge base was expanded further and my understanding deepened. After passing a series of exams and assessments, I was accepted and inducted into the guild and set my sights right away to gaining the rank of ‘Master’.

Being so focussed with learning and understanding everything there is to know about chimney systems, continuing my professional development was inevitable. I took multiple additional courses which afforded me great insight into understanding complex chimney systems and allowed me to specialise in problem diagnosis. In tandem to this, I was able to work on my grasp of the French language and become a member of ‘La Confédération Nationale du Ramonage et de la Fumisterie (CNRF)’.

Of my time spent as a Chimney Sweep and despite having swept thousands of chimneys, the act of cleaning a chimney has been only a small part of my role. Much of my job has required me to work in a technical or educational capacity. You may not be aware that whilst your sweep is sweeping your chimney, they are also identifying any potential faults or non-conformities against hundreds and hundreds of regulatory points. From an early point in Jennings Chimney Sweeping’s conception, the decision was made to use an internal CCTV video inspection during every sweep. This has resulted in making some significant discoveries in the way many systems have been installed in our part of France. Many of these faults had remained undetected for years and I can comfortably say that this decision is likely to have saved lives – some of the faults discovered have been out right unbelievable!

As for the educational role; The deposits removed from your chimney, the condition of your appliance and many other factors paint a story of how your chimney has been functioning and from this, a qualified sweep is able to address potential issues before they arise and can also explain how you can increase the efficiency of your stove by making changes to the way you burn. Many of the online reviews Jennings Chimney Sweeping has received discuss the advice given during the sweep and comment on the knowledge of the chimney sweeping craft. To date (30/06/2023), Jennings Chimney Sweeping has received over 200 reviews and has retained a perfect 5-star rating, something I am personally immensely proud of.

As I sit here writing this blog, I have next to me a golden embossed Guild of Master Chimney Sweep certificate: “Kristian Jennings has been awarded the status of Guild Master Chimney Sweep having successfully completed the required elements for The Master Sweep status” May 2023, Signed by David Wooffindin, On Behalf of the Guild Board. The recognition of my commitment to Chimney Sweeping and my understanding of this industry means a lot to me and really warms my heart. This is of course but a step on the road for my Chimney sweeping journey. I am still devoted to continued professional development to further expand my knowledge and retain my expertise in the field as I turn my focus to this ‘Silly season’ and the good few hundreds of chimneys to come when winter returns once again.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me both professionally and personally in this journey. And to anyone who has used Jennings Chimney Sweeping and continues to use Jennings Chimney Sweeping for their annual service I am incredibly grateful for your unwavering support and trust. It is thanks to customers like you who have entrusted me with the important task of caring for your chimneys year after year, that I am able to achieve this milestone. Your loyalty and patronage mean the world to me, and I look forward to continuing to provide you with the same standard of service and utmost professionalism in all our future interactions.