Have You Had Your Chimney Swept?

Whilst having a roaring open fire or log burner is a wonderful way to keep your room warm, there are responsibilities that come with keeping the chimney and flue clean and clear. According to Cheshire Fire Service, there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England and most of these are completely preventable. In this article, we look at the importance of ensuring your chimney is swept and kept clear.

Why Do I Need to Have My Chimney/Flue Swept?
Due to the job that it does, your chimney needs to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Soot can build up on the inside along with nests from birds, cobwebs and other debris that may cause a blockage. Having the chimney professionally swept will remove all of this along with any creosote build-up, in turn helping to prevent a dangerous chimney fire. Another advantage to having your chimney swept regularly is that the efficiency of some appliances can be increased.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Chimney Fires?
According to the Cheshire Fire Service, the most common causes of chimney fires are:

  • Improper appliance sizing
  • Burning unseasoned wet wood
  • Infrequent sweeping and cleaning
  • Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood stoves

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Swept?
This will depend on a few factors such as:

  • which type of fuel is used (wood and bituminous coal – every 3 months when chimney is being used, smokeless fuel, gas, and oil – once a year)
  • how often the chimney is used
  • the type of chimney you have
  • which appliances you use
  • the moisture content of the wood fuel burnt

Are There Any Accreditations I Should Look for When Finding a Chimney Sweep?
Finding a chimney sweep who is a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps  (NACS) will ensure a high standard of sweep is carried out. NACS was formed in 1982 as a professional Trade Association for chimney sweeps and they promote high standards for the sweeping, maintenance, and inspection of chimneys.

Recommended by all major fuel organisations, including the Solid Fuel Association, HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme), and OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association), members  work strictly to the NACS Code of Practice 1982 and Code of Conduct for the cleaning of chimneys, which details the need for sweeps to hold valid insurance and correct equipment for carrying out their work. All NACS chimney sweeps undertake an intensive training course and must successfully complete a full assessment prior to becoming a NACS Member.

How Can I Find a Member of NACS To Sweep My Chimney?
You can visit the NACS website and click on the ‘Find a Sweep’ page so that you may search for a local sweep to attend to the cleaning and maintenance of your chimney.

How Much Will It Cost to Have the Chimney Swept?
This will be variable and depends on several factors, such as the type of appliance or chimney you have, the time the job will take to be completed and your location within the UK.

For further advice and information regarding sweeping chimneys, please follow this link to the NACS website.