Chimney Smoke Test

Chimney smoke test video transcript:

Why You Need A Chimney Smoke Test

Lee Pearce: There are different types of smoke test – there’s a smoke evacuation check, which is part of the chimney sweeping procedure – that’s just really lighting a smoke pellet in the appliance and letting it burn, making sure the smoke evacuates up the chimney and goes where it should do and comes out where it should do – and doesn’t come back into the room.

Types Of Chimney Smoke Test

A smoke integrity test is defined by building regulations. There are two smoke tests clearly defined in there which are smoke test 1 and smoke test 2. They are in appendix A of building regulations document J. They detailed the specific integrity tests for checking chimneys for leaks for both gas appliances and for solid fuel appliances. The tests differ slightly, but the actual test itself is done under more stringent circumstances, you would have no doors or windows open, the flue which would be warmed first.

Inside a London chimney smoke test

Inside a London chimney

Smoke Testing Areas

Different areas of the property have to be checked. It’s not just a matter of making sure smoke goes up and out of the chimney. You need to go into all the rooms above where the flue for the appliance passes to ensure that there is no leakage into other chimneys or rooms from the appliance / flue being tested. You even have to go into the party wall property if the appliance is on a party wall. You need to check loft space to see if there are any leaks into the loft space and obviously the smoke should only emerge from one chimney pot. If it comes out of anywhere it shouldn’t do, then the test has failed and it means the chimney needs repair or relining.

Failing Chimney Smoke Tests

Q: do they fail often?

I am finding more and more chimneys fail – as the properties get older. People are becoming more aware of the need for testing so we are being given more easy access and people are understanding what we are doing now days. But obviously the housing property is getting older – Victorian and Georgian houses … anything 100 years old is likely to fail a smoke test if it’s done properly.

Why Victorian Chimneys Often Fail Chimney Smoke Tests

A brick chimney has thousands of bricks in it – every one has got four joints, so there’s a lot of potential for leakage there. The Victorian chimneys are the ones that suffered the most with the soot, because in their early years they were burning coal, which is highly sulphurous, which actually broke down the lime water inside the chimney – so they have deteriorated the worst.

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