This may be the year of making savings around the home, but cutting corners on getting your chimney swept shouldn’t be an option. If you have a log burner or open fire in your home and you haven’t had it swept yet this year, get it booked in, asap. It’s not just to limit soot on Santa’s suit, getting your chimney swept can validate your insurance and save lives. Here’s why.
The top reason for keeping your chimney in tip top condition is to prevent fire - chimney fires can cause absolute destruction of your home. That may seem ironic as chimneys are designed to withstand fire, right? Wrong. Chimneys are designed to draw the fumes from a fire away from your home. In fact, a chimney fire is quite spectacular and potentially very dangerous. What makes them even more dangerous is that they can burn long, slow and incredibly hot. This means that your neighbours (or you, if the fire is in a different room) may not notice it until it is too late and the sheer heat of the chimney has ignited other areas of the house.
Chimney fires are usually caused by a build up of creosote, which is a natural by-product of burning wood, on the inside of your chimney. If you’ve used creosote to preserve wood before, you will know that it has a tar-like consistency. When it builds up, it can develop a glossy layer on the inside of the chimney. It is incredibly combustible, and a stray spark can set it alight. By getting your chimney swept at least once a year, you can prevent creosote from building up.
Smoke damage doesn’t just occur when you have an actual house fire. If your chimney isn’t cleaned, the smoke from your fire won’t be drawn out of your home properly. It may be barely detectible to you, but it will eventually show on your hearth and any soft furnishings near the fire. A film of black soot is NOT a pleasant feature – it’s much easier to get your chimney swept than to have to get everything professionally cleaned.
If you have a health condition such as asthma, COPD or allergies, failing to keep your chimney clear could exacerbate your problems as you inhale soot and smog from your fire. But that’s not your greatest risk. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. A natural by-product of burning anything, CO is usually drawn up and away from your home by your flue. If your flue is blocked, that CO is released into your home. It doesn’t smell, you can’t see it – and it can kill instantly. So, book your local chimney sweep now – and while you are at it, get a CO alarm fitted in your home.
If you are worried about having a chimney cleaner visit your home due to Covid-19, call your local sweep and ask them what measures they are taking to protect you and their other customers. For more advice, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.