Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need to sweep chimneys?
What are the implications of the new Building Regulations?
Why carry out a smoke test?
Why does my fireplace smoke back when I use it?
Why do I need an air vent in the room?

 

Why do you need to sweep chimneys?

Chimneys should be swept at least once a year when burning gas or smokeless fuels, and more frequently when burning wood or coal.

It is important to sweep chimneys regularly so as to ensure the that the soot in the chimney flue is removed and therefore reduce the risk of chimney fires, and to aid the safe evacuation of dangerous combustion gasses from the fireplace out into the atmosphere.

Any fossil fuel burnt produces Carbon Monoxide (Co). This can be fatal, therefore frequent chimney sweeping is essential and will eliminate any risk of the chimney being blocked, by birds, birds and squirrels nests, bees and wasps nests, cobwebs, fallen chimney parging and soot.

You should only enlist the services of COMPETENT tradesmen to carry out any works or inspections that may affect the safe working of any chimney, flue or appliance.

 

What are the implications of the new Building Regulations?

Since the Introduction of the Building Regulations ‘Document J’2002, any existing chimney being brought back into use, must conform with the current Building Regulations.

You should only enlist the services of COMPETENT tradesmen to carry out any works or inspections that may affect the safe working of any chimney, flue or appliance.

chimney sweeping london

 

Why carry out a smoke test?

Even once a chimney has been swept, there is no way a chimney sweep can tell if the flue integrity is good. There may be a slight crack within the chimney wall or damage to the mid-feathers within the flue (the brickwork which separates chimney flues).

A crack within the chimney wall, or damaged mid-feathers, could result in harmful flue gasses finding their way into other parts of your property or roof space or even that of your neighbours.

 

Why does my fireplace smoke back when I use it?

There are many reasons that a fireplace may smoke back when in use:

  • It could be that the flue requires sweeping or that the flue is obstructed in some way, possibly by a nest or fallen leaves.
  • The fireplace size may not be compatible with the cross sectional area size and height of the chimney flue or the grate is too low or too far forward in relation to the fireplace recess.
  • The chimney stack may terminate in a high pressure zone causing down draught or there may be a wind derived down draught.
  • The chimney may be cold and damp causing lack of flue updraught or the ventilation provided may be insufficient.

 

Why do I need an air vent in the room?

All solid fuel appliances and most gas appliances need a flow of air into the room.
Some, particularly the open fires, need more than others, because, in addition to the air required to burn the fuel, a much larger quantity flows over the fire, through the appliance or fireplace opening, and up the flue.

A closed appliance may only require 15 -25 cubic metres of air per hour, whereas an inset open fire with a large opening and ‘throat’ area induces the flow of an additional 260 cubic metres or more per hour.

If there is insufficient air available, the air speed through the fireplace opening is so reduced that it fails to carry all of the smoke up the flue.