Keep fireplace appliances working safety


In Consumer Advice

If you have a gas or solid-fuel heating appliance (such as a wood burning stove), in your fireplace, then did you know you should have your chimney or flue regularly swept to keep your appliance functioning safely and efficiently?

Chimneys allow combustion gasses to safely escape from properties. 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)

Having your chimney swept may well bring up visions of Victorian London and Mary Poppins, but modern-day sweeps are trained with qualifications and can also be members of their own trade or professional bodies too. Look out for:

Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme (HETAS)

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)

Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps

Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps