Regular sweeping is vital to remove blockages and soot.
- A build up of soot is a fire risk, UK fire statistics for the year 2012 to 2013 recorded 7200 chimney fires. Not every insurance company will pay out claims made due to chimney fires unless the chimney has been swept by a professional chimney sweep and the home/ building owners are in possession of a recognised chimney sweeping certificate.
- A regularly swept chimney/flue allows carbon monoxide and other combustion gases to be safely vented through the chimney.
- A clean chimney will burn more efficiently, which will save you money, as well as helping to preserve the environment.
How Often Should I Clean My Chimney
This depends on how often you use your fire and the fuel/quality of fuel you are burning. The table below provides a guide.
|Smokeless coals||once a year|
|Wood||twice a year|
|Bituminous coal||twice a year|
Every year a small number of people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by solid fuel appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or swept. When fossil fuels (coal, wood etc) do not burn properly carbon monoxide is produced, which is poisonous.
The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, tiredness, drowsiness, pains in the chest and stomach pains.
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open doors and windows, allow the fire to burn out and do not stay in the room. Seek medical attention.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning allow your fire to breathe. To breathe your fire needs a constant and sufficient flow of air, so the room must not be completely air tight. A clean chimney/ flue helps the fire to breathe by allowing the free flow of carbon monoxide and smoke up the chimney.
Landlords and Tenants
Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of chimneys flues. This requirement for maintenance can be enforced under section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Part of the landlords undertaking is that the sweeping of chimney flues cannot be delegated to tenants.
Carbon monoxide poisonings caused by heating appliances in rented accommodation which result in death or hospital treatment are reportable incidents under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, and that when these occur they should be reported to the appropriate enforcing Authority.