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Frequently Asked Questions
How often should my chimney be cleaned ?
For solid fuel, provided the fuel and usage remains as before and is for half the year only: OIL AND GAS -once per year. SMOKELESS FUELS - once per season. HOUSE COAL OR WOOD - once or twice per season (on open fires), two or three times per season (in stoves). If the chimney is used throughout the year, the frequency should be doubled. This can vary with use and fuel type, and user experience may determine frequency. Always follows the manufacturer's instructions and burn only recommended fuels. Please note, tarry chimneys present a higher risk of chimney fires, no matter how often they are swept. Loose liner will continue to fall from older chimneys, and sweeping will not alter this. Serious cases will need re-lining.
Why should I carry out a smoke test ?

Even once a chimney has been swept, there is no way a chimney sweep can tell if the flue integrity is good. There may be a slight crack within the chimney wall or damage to the mid-feathers within the flue (the brickwork which separates chimney flues).

A crack within the chimney wall, or damaged mid-feathers, could result in harmful flue gasses finding their way into other parts of your property or roof space or even that of your neighbours.

Why do I need an air vent in the room ?

All solid fuel appliances and most gas appliances need a flow of air into the room. Some, particularly the open fires, need more than others, because, in addition to the air required to burn the fuel, a much larger quantity flows over the fire, through the appliance or fireplace opening, and up the flue.

A closed appliance may only require 15 -25 cubic metres of air per hour, whereas an inset open fire with a large opening and 'throat' area induces the flow of an additional 260 cubic metres or more per hour.

If there is insufficient air available, the air speed through the fireplace opening is so reduced that it fails to carry all of the smoke up the flue.

What do I do if I have a chimney fire ?
In the event of a chimney fire occurring:
  • Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service. It will help if someone can wait outside to meet them.
  • If you have a conventional open fire, extinguish the fire by gently splashing water onto the open fire.
  • If you have a solid fuel appliance, close down the ventilation as much as possible.
  • Move furniture and rugs away from the fireplace and remove any nearby ornaments.
  • Place a spark guard in front of the fire.
  • Feel the chimney breast in other rooms for signs of heat.
  • If a wall is becoming hot, move furniture away. Ensure that access to your attic or roof space is available for the Fire Service as they will want to thoroughly check this area for signs of possible fire spread.
  • If you see smoke or flames from any part of your home wait for the fire service outside.
Why does my fire smoke back ?

There are a number of reasons:

  • There could be a blockage or partial blockage in the chimney (bird, bird’s nest, even soot).
  • Sometimes, when out of use for long periods, chimneys become cold, even damp, reducing the updraft or creating a downdraft. Ventilation to the room may also be a contributing factor.
  • The size of the fireplace opening may be too large for the size of the flue, a much more common occurrence.
  • The terminal (pot) may be sited in a position where downdraft will occur.


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