The most common cause of chimney fires is infrequent cleaning and sweeping.

Chimney sweeping is important. In order to enable your appliance to ‘breathe’ efficiently it is absolutely essential that you do not allow soot or ash to build up where it can hinder or prevent the free flow of smoke and other products of combustion.

The function of sweeping the flue/chimney is to remove the deposits that build up when the burning of carbon based fuels occur. By sweeping the flue/chimney we ensure there is a clear and safe passage for the exit of combustion products caused by the burning process. This lessens the chance of a chimney catching fire.

Regular sweeping also lessens the chance of unescape dangerous gases entering your living space.

Guidelines from the Solid Fuel Association and The National Association of Chimney Sweeps state that chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used:

  • Smokeless fuels; at least once a year
  • Bituminous coal; at least twice a year
  • Wood; quarterly when in use
  • Oil; once a year
  • Gas; once a year

It is important to remember that all fuels contain carbon – including oil, gas, wood, charcoal, coal and smokeless fuel – and care should be taken with all fuels at all times to ensure their safe use. If you do not get complete combustion then carbon monoxide will be produced.

Sweeping will also ensure the safe removal of obstructions that may have lodged inside the flue. Obstructions such as;

  • Nests
  • Cobwebs
  • Flue collapse (loose brickwork)

All of which could prevent the safe exit of products of combustion.

The other function of a chimney sweep is to help and advise people in the safe use of the appliance or intended appliance they may be called out to sweep.