While there are still plenty of summer days ahead, it's never too early to start preparing your chimney ahead of the colder months.
Why do chimney fires happen?
Chimney fires usually start when high temperatures or flames from a very hot fire extend into the appliance outlet or flue and catch fire with combustible deposits of soot and creosote.
Why chimney sweeping matters?
Chimney sweeping removes and deposits of soot and creosote that build up when burning carbon-based fuels, reducing the risk of chimney fires. Sweeping also helps remove obstructions like nests, cobwebs, and flue collapse.
If you have a chimney that you use, we recommend you do the following:
- Regularly sweep your chimney
- Clear the external area of bird nests and overgrown shrubbery
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well-maintained
- Use a fire guard when using open fires
- Extinguish the fire before leaving the house or going to bed
- Use good quality fuel
- Don't block air vents or air bricks
Adjust chimney sweeping frequency based on the fuel used:
- Smokeless fuels: at least once a year
- Bituminous coal: at least twice a year
- Wood: quarterly when in use
- Oil: once a year
- Gas: once a year (hire a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer for gas appliances)
Chimney maintenance responsibilities
For Renters and Owners:
- Anyone using flue appliances should maintain them properly, taking reasonable care as specified by household insurance policies. Thatched properties may have specific sweeping frequency requirements from insurers.
- Landlords have a duty to maintain and repair room heaters and water heating equipment for their tenants.
After a Chimney Fire:
- After a chimney fire, it's crucial to have a Certified Sweep inspect the chimney for any damage caused by temperature changes before using it again.
Find a Chimney Sweep:
- Visit the websites of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (www.nacs.org.uk), the Institute of Chimney Sweeps (www.instituteofchimneysweeps.com), or the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (www.hetas.co.uk) to find a local chimney sweep.