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Why does my chimney need sweeping ?

A chimney needs to be swept because it is an exhaust system for your heating appliance. If the flue is blocked this could stop hot gases or poisonous fumes escaping from your house which could be a danger to your health and property. With a solid fuel appliance sweeping removes the soot, creosote and tar deposits which build up over time reducing the diameter of the flue and significantly increasing the risk of a chimney fire. Your chimney sweep can explain more whilst on site

 

How often do I need my chimney swept?

All working chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year, as recommended by NACS, the Fire Service and insurance companies, whether using coal, oil, gas or wood. Chimneys burning wood tend to need more regular cleaning - quarterly when in use is the recommended timescale. Your chimney sweep can advise more on inspection.

How do I prepare the room before the chimney is swept?

Make sure there has been no fire lit in the appliance for at least 12 hours. If possible remove all ash from the fire. Remove all ornaments from and around the fire and ensure the chimney sweep can walk unobstructed from the front door to the fire. If you wish, cover any items of furniture although your chimney sweep will be able to provide sufficient covers and equipment to protect your items and house.

 

Can I burn any type of wood on my fire?

No you should only burn seasoned wood, that is wood which has been left outside for a year and then stored undercover outside for a further year. Fruit wood e.g. apple, pear etc should be left outside for a further year (3 years in total). You are aiming to have a moisture content of below 20%, splitting the wood will aid drying. Moisture content can be checked with a moisture meter many are available for under 20. Doing this will reduce but not eliminate the build up of tar and creosote in your flue which wood always produces. Hence the more wood you burn the more frequently the flue will need to be swept. Your chimney sweep can show you examples of moisture meters and test some of your fuel.

 

My chimney has a stainless steel liner, do I still need it swept ?

A common question and the answer is YES, although the chimney has been lined and insulated to keep the temperature of the flue gases higher and create less condensates there is still soot and possibly tar or creosote building up which can reduce the diameter of the liner. The nature of construction of a stainless liner can also leave it prone to rapid deterioration if left in a sooty or tarred state, most liner warranties are subject to proof of regular sweeping, your chimney sweep can advise more.Stainless steel chimney liners, twin wall flexible liners, metal liners NEED sweeping every year.

 

Do Solid fuel appliances emit carbon monoxide ?

 

YES Heating and cooking appliances fuelled by coal, smokeless fuels, wood and oil can be just as likely as gas appliances to cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if they are poorly installed, faulty or incorrectly used. CO poisoning is mostly caused by inadequate ventilation or a lack of correct maintenance of appliances, flues and chimneys. Some incidents are also due to incorrect installation or deterioration of the structure of the chimney. Poisonous CO gas is produced when fuel does not burn properly. You can die from CO poisoning, or your health can be permanently damaged.CO gas is odourless and tasteless, so you won't know when it is present. It can kill or maim without warning in a matter of hours. You are particularly vulnerable when you are asleep. The elderly and the young are particularly at risk.
The early symptoms of CO poisoning include - tiredness, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, chest pains and nausea, if you suffer any of these open all the windows and doors and stay outside.

Always have a CO alarm

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