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Sweeping Your Chimney & Why It's Important

21st October 2020

With the clocks due to go back this weekend, we are all reminded that winter is just around the corner. We’ve already felt a drop in temperature, with many of us grabbing our favourite knits and chunky scarves when getting ready to head out and lighting the fire in the evenings to take the chill off. 

Stocking up on good quality fuel, with low moisture content, such as heat logs, is a priority but so too is getting your chimney swept, or at least it should be. As a HETAS approved chimney sweep and NACS trained and registered, at Tolley Home Services, 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. By doing so, you 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, before you start using your fire. Remember - sweeps often get very busy from September onwards, so consider arranging an earlier sweep. If sweeping your chimney twice a year, you should look to do so after the peak period of use, it’s best to have your sweeps done when you’ve not used your fireplace/stove for a while. 

What happens if you don’t clean your chimney regularly?

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 blockages and 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. At Tolley Home Services we use the rotary power sweeping method, which gives a clean sweep but can also do it 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.