It is important to make sure that your chimney is swept to ensure it is free from bird nests or other obstructions.
With use, soot, deposits, and tar can build up, reducing the chimney’s draw, make the stove run badly and can cause a chimney fire. Now is a great time to have your chimney swept, before the colder weather as more chimney sweeps will be available than when winter is in full swing.
As well as making sure your chimney is safe and clear from blockages, it is also a good time to have your wood burning stove or open fireplace serviced to ensure the best performance, as HETAS installers are starting to enter their busiest period of the year.
In the meantime, here are some general safety tips for keeping your chimney in tip-top condition:
- Ensure your wood burning stove is installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- You should have your chimney swept at least once a year, depending on the fuel you use and how dry it is, how frequently your wood burning stove or fireplace is used, the type of chimney or flue and whether or not it is lined, as fewer deposits will build up in a lined chimney.
- When burning wood, use only dry, seasoned logs with a maximum moisture content of 20% in your wood burning stove. If you burn green or wet wood, a lot of the heat in the stove’s firebox is lost in burning off the excess water. This reduces the stove’s efficiency, gives you less heat in the room and causes tar to condense in the chimney, which is one of the biggest causes of chimney fires.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, waste paper or wood treated with preservatives and coatings containing heavy metals, or other toxic chemicals and contaminants in your wood burning stove.
- If you have recently opened up and plan to use a fireplace, make sure it is inspected by a HETAS qualified engineer before use. Inspect the chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks. If in doubt, have your chimney lined as there can be warranty and house insurance issues with not lining.