Why do you need to have your chimney swept?

In our recent article, “Maintaining a safe and clean chimney”, we looked at some of the ways in which chimneys can be maintained to continue working efficiently throughout the year.
One way to make sure your chimney is safe and clean is to have it swept regularly. In this blog we will look at some of the motivations for regular chimney cleaning.

Clearing debris
clip_image002The key reason for having your chimney swept is to clear any debris or leftover bi-products of the combustion process. Coal fires create lots of soot which needs sweeping out regularly to avoid blockages. Wood fires generally create less debris than coal fires but if the wood that is burned has a high water content (above 20% moisture) it can cause creosote build-ups which can be flammable and ultimately cause chimney fires.
Preventing fires
Chimney fires occur when leftover remains of the combustion process are left blocking flue ways. The soot and creosotes that build up within the flue or in the appliance can become very hot which can cause a fire to ignite. A combination of regular sweeping and only burning the correct types of fuels for your appliance can help stop this from happening.
Protecting health
If your chimney happens to be blocked then fumes from gas or solid fuel fires might not be able to travel upwards and instead may enter the room as Carbon Monoxide (CO) which can be highly dangerous. When fuel burns incorrectly either through blocked flues or badly installed appliances, CO can be produced of which symptoms include tiredness, drowsiness, chest pains and sickness.
It is therefore important to have appliances installed by HETAS registered installers and approved chimney sweeps. It is also recommended that you install a CO alarm which can help you give you notice of CO in the air.
CO alarms signal the presence of low or high levels of CO in your home through alarms or warnings on an LCD display. They are easy to install and some are also portable for taking on holiday.
W & H Supplies are Gas Safe registered and HETAS approved and also members of the National Fireplace Association. For more information on maintaining your chimney read our full guide here.

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