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Get that chimney swept

If you use a gas or solid fuel heating appliance in your fireplace, you should make sure you have your chimney or flue regularly swept – just to make sure Santa is not the only thing stuck in your chimney this year.

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 also things like bird nests too.

Regular chimney / flue sweeping removes soot, creosote, birds nests, cobwebs and other unwanted blockages. Cleaning the chimney / flue will also improve the efficiencies of some appliances.  It’s also crucial to note that with increasing popularity of wood burning stoves, regular flue maintenance is of the upmost importance – they are not a fit and forget product.

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:

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

Remember that if you use gas or oil fuelled appliances you should have your appliance serviced yearly by a Gas Safe or OFTEC registered engineer. You can also search for professional engineers in your area via the CIPHE website