Keep fireplace fires at bay


In Consumer Advice, Heating

For those getting cosy around the fireplace this winter, there’s a very important piece of maintenance that may be due, and that’s to sweep your chimney or flue. If you have gas or solid fuel heating appliance (such as a wood burning stove) in your fireplace, sweeping your chimney or flue will keep your appliance functioning safely and efficiently.

Chimneys allow combustion gasses to safely escape from properties, so it’s vital 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. As an added bonus, 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.

Appliances will vary so its vital you look at the manufacturers instructions. As a basic rule by thumb, 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)

You’ll be glad to hear that child labour is long gone and modern chimney sweeps are trained with qualifications, and can also be members of their own trade or professional bodies. The CIPHE recommends you look out for professionals who belong to:

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)  
Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps 
Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps  

And if you are thinking about having a gas or solid fuel heating appliance installed in your fireplace, make sure you always call in an accredited professional.