As the nights draw in and the Great British Summer comes to an end, many people are lighting their fires or wood burners for the first time in a few months. Before you make the inaugural fire of the winter, it is important that you get your chimney swept. Here’s why.
1. Protect your household members and home from smoke:
With normal use of a fire, soot deposits build up in your chimney. Too much build-up can narrow your flue and stop your chimney from drawing out the smoke and fumes from a fire, with three significant, potentially dangerous, consequences. Breathing in the fumes can cause damage to your health, particularly if you or a member of your household suffer from other respiratory conditions, such as asthma. As well as impacting your health, if smoke from a fire is not drawn up the flue and out through the chimney, the smoke that is released back into the room can cause discolouration and smoke damage.
2. Prevent fire from blocked chimneys:
There are two primary causes of blocked chimneys, each of which can result in fire. When we burn wood or coal, the residue (coal soot or wood tar), builds up in the lining of the flue. If there is too much build-up, the residue can overheat and set alight, causing fire to spread up the chimney. Equally dangerous is the blocking of chimneys by bird nests. If a chimney is not covered properly, birds drop twigs and leaves to make a nest, effectively placing perfect kindling at the top end of your chimney! It is not unusual for unsuspecting home owners to discover a chimney fire as the result of uninvited summer residents!
Find A Trusted Chimney Sweep
It is important that you find an accredited, qualified chimney sweep. Failure to have your chimney properly swept by a professional could put your home at risk and could invalidate your insurance. There are professional accreditations from independent organisations, such as HETAS, which can help you to identify trustworthy, insured chimney sweeps near you. On completion, a professional sweeping company will be able to give you a certificate to show that your chimney has been swept in accordance with recommendations and is safe for use. You may need to forward a copy of this certificate to your home insurer; if you are in doubt about whether you need to inform your insurer about your fire, check your policy or contact your insurer.
As with many aspects of home maintenance, finding a chimney sweep near you can seem like an arduous task. However, when it comes to safeguarding your home and your family, it is something you can’t afford not to do. For a list of trusted local chimney sweeps in your area, take a look at the traders listed in our directory.