When was the last time your had your chimney swept?
The truth is that having your chimney swept, just like many other less regular home maintenance tasks, can easily go forgotten… There may little harm in forgetting to repaint the spare room, sand and treat your wooden worktops or forgetting to fix a noisy door. However, when it comes to our fireplaces – working and manually operated appliances –
forgetting our maintenance is far more serious.
When we use our solid fuel fireplaces (open fire, stoves, etc) combustion is never 100% effective, thus soot (fuel that has failed to burn) is generated and some of it is deposited on the flue each time we use our fireplace. Overtime, soot accumulations in our chimney grow and this can lead to various, even dangerous issues, such as:
- Chimney fires: Soot is fuel that has failed to burn and chimneys by design do get hot. If you have enough soot in your chimney and the conditions are right, you will have a chimney fire and it could easily spread to the rest of your house, proving to be a deadly and expensive problem. Did you know? If you have a working fireplace, some insurance companies require that your have your chimney swept on a regular basis (usually yearly) in order for your cover to be valid.
- Smoke into the room: Hot gases rise, and the smoke generated by your fireplace always looks for the path of least resistance as an escape route. This is the purpose of having a chimney, to provide the path of least resistance for your combustion gases. If your chimney flue’s diameter is getting thinner due to accumulation of soot, smoke coming from your stove or fireplace will not be able to fully escape via the chimney, so some of it will start smoking back into your room. This will not only damage your room over time, but also the harmful gases produced by combustion produce a very real danger to you and your family.
- Less efficiency: Your stove or fireplace uses a finite amount of space. In this space, it needs to have all the ingredients for a good and continuous burn (combustion): the right amount (and type!) of fuel and plenty of air. A vital part of ensuring a good flow of air to your appliance is having the correct flue draught, which will take the smoke out of the appliance thus allowing fresh air from the room to replace it, keeping the combustion process going . As discussed in the previous point, soot accumulations on your chimney can reduce the flue’s diameter, this will have a direct effect on the draught your chimney is producing, affecting the amount of fresh air your appliance has access to. This lack of fresh air will make your burn less efficient as your fuel will not burn correctly due to lack of oxygen, giving you less heat and producing more harmful gasses such as CO (carbon-monoxide).
This are all serious problems, dangerous to your health and your wallet! But all easily avoidable with a good chimney sweeping plan. This is why sweeping your chimney is a vital part of your home maintenance.
How often should I sweep my chimney?
This will obviously depend on what you burn, how well it burns, and how often you use your fireplace and we are happy to discuss your individual needs this with you after one of our visits.
As a general rule, HETAS (https://www.hetas.co.uk/) recommends that chimneys are swept at least once per year. Additionally, if you have a stove or a manufactured chimney system, your warranties might also dictate minimum maintenance interval, usually also 12 months.
Here at CR Stoves we specialize in solid fuel appliance maintenance and offer reminders to help you stay on top of things. So whether you have any questions or if you are ready to book, please give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.
Find out more about our chimney cleaning services or book an appointment