The job of chimney sweep conjures up many visions – especially at this time of year as you chomp on popcorn watching Christmas classics like Mary Poppins or a Dickensian tale of wonder and woe - but did you know that if you have a gas or solid fuel heating appliance in your fireplace, you should have your chimney or flue regularly swept? With wood burning stoves as popular as ever, it’s vital householders are aware that flue’s and chimneys need regular maintenance.
Chimneys allow combustion gasses to safely escape from properties, so it’s incredibly important that they are clear from debris. A blocked chimney or flue can have dire results including fire, inhalation of fumes such as carbon monoxide and can also cause smoke damage to your home. In fact there are thousands of chimney fires across the UK annually, usually caused by a build up of debris from soot and blockages such as bird nests.
Regular sweeping removes soot, creosote, bird nests, cobwebs and other unwanted blockages. Cleaning will also improve the efficiencies of some appliances too – so not only does it keep you safe, it can save you money on your heating bills.
Although appliances vary a basic rule by thumb is that you should have your chimney swept:
Smokeless fuel: At least once a year
Wood: Quarterly when in use
Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use
Oil: Once a year
Gas: Once a year
Source: The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)
Forget images of scrawny children, modern day, 21st century sweeps are trained and hold qualifications. Many are members of their own trade or professional bodies too. Look out for:
And remember, if you want Father Christmas to bring you presents this year, make sure his way down the chimney is nice and clear!