Caring for and sweeping your chimney

As the temperature drops a little, we are all reminded that a change in the seasons is just around the corner. For some, there is a touch of sadness as summer days give way to autumn evenings but others relish in the chance to grab their favourite knit and chunky scarf and head outside for a brisk walk, returning of course to a roaring fire! 

At Tolley Home Services, we are gearing up for a busy few months as everyone suddenly realises they need to get ready. Ordering good quality dry wood, such as kiln dried or seasoned, is a priority but so too is getting the chimney swept, or at least it should be and as a HETAS approved sweep and NACS 

 trained and registered we know only too well why this is important. 

Firstly, did you know it is an insurance requirement? A regular sweep ensures you are compliant for insurance purposes; house insurers like to know you are maintaining your property well and a good chimney sweep will issue you with a certificate, which covers you for a year. This certificate is also handy if you are moving house, as your buyer's solicitor will ask for it! 

Taking proper care of your chimney is important; your chimney should be swept at least twice a year when burning wood or bituminous house coal and at least once a year when burning smokeless fuels. This decision will ensure your chimney is fit for purpose and safe at all times. 

You should have your first sweep at the start of the season, ideally September (or consider earlier as sweeps often get busy in September) it’s good to do it when you’ve not used your fireplace/stove for a while. If sweeping twice a year, look to also do it after the peak period of use. 

If you don't clean your chimney regularly, soot will accumulate around the flue, causing an inability to draw the smoke upwards. The smoke will then be directed to your room, leaving black soot on the walls, furniture, and carpeting. 

Not cleaning your chimney regularly also increases the chances of chimney fires which are caused by debris such as bird nests or nearby trees which enter your flue if it has not been protected by a chimney cap.

Signs to look out for include:

  • A loud, crackling or popping noise from the chimney flue
  • A lot of dense, thick smoke coming into the fireplace or out of the top of the chimney
  • A strong, intensely hot smell
  • A roaring sound that might remind you of an aeroplane 

Regular cleaning will also protect you from the potentially invisible killer carbon monoxide, which causes poisoning and we hate to say it even death.

Cleaning your chimney doesn’t take long, usually about an hour. We use the rotary power sweeping method, which gives a clean sweep but can do manually if you prefer. Our sweep will also advise you of any safety issues and give useful advice, in addition, we send an annual reminder that your sweep is due, so you don’t have to worry.

Guest post written by NACS and HETAS approved Chimney Sweep, Stuart Tolley from Tolley Home Services. Tolley Home Services provide Chimney Sweeping, Stove Installation & Property Services across Herefordshire.

1 comment

  • Elle Jones

    This article’s discussion on the need to maintain your chimney is excellent; while using wood or bituminous house coal, your chimney should be cleaned at least twice a year; when burning smokeless fuels, it should be done at least once a year. Making this choice will guarantee that your chimney is always safe and functional. It’s crucial to hire a qualified chimney sweeper promptly. Since my grandmother’s house will be restored in a month and I want to use the fireplace in the winter, I’m interested in integrating the chimney into the project. I’ll have this in mind while I search for a company to perform the inspection and prepare to engage them shortly.

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