Have you swept your chimney recently? As the winter months draw in, you will most likely be using your fireplace to keep your home warm and cosy. However, you could end up with serious damage to your home from an unclean chimney – blocked chimneys can cause serious chimney fires that could destroy your home.
Chimneys should be swept depending on the fuel used by the fireplace. Smokeless, gas and oil fuels need to be swept once a year, bituminous coal should be swept twice a year and wood should be swept quarterly when you are using your fire. Remember that any work on gas appliances must be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer – always be safe with your gas appliances.
If your chimney is not swept, there is the possibility that soot left in the flue will ignite from the heat. This can cause serious damage to your flue as you use your fire. Furthermore, there may also be other debris inside the flue such as bird’s nests and cobwebs which can also make ignition more likely. Chimney fires can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning when the gases released by fires seeps back into the home due to a blocked flue.
Public Loss Adjusters recommend that you have your chimney cleaned as soon as possible – it is better to have your chimney cleaned later than never. Between sweeps, you should keep your fireplace or wood burner clean and free of ash and soot. It is also important to not use unseasoned wet wood – cooler smoke causes more soot and creosotes to build up in the flue.
You should also always use a fireguard if you have an open fire, as hot sparks can fly out of the embers. You should also never leave a fire burning unattended – ensure that you completely extinguish the fire before you go to bed or leave the house. If you use a wood burner, do not store logs right next to it – they could ignite with the heat from the burner.