Advice / Safety
At Mucky Duck Chimney Sweep we pride ourselves on our extensive research and helpful advice.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR CHIMNEY SWEPT?
The information below is for guidance only. Many other factors affect how frequently you should have your chimney swept. We will be able to advise you further having assessed your chimney.
Smokeless fuel: At least once a year
Wood: Quarterly when in use
Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use
Oil: Once a year
Gas: Once a year
Smokeless fuels are quite often a requirement in built up areas as part of ‘The clean air act’. They produce less soot than traditional coals and thus cleaner air. Unfortunately burning smokeless does not remove the need for sweeping. We have cleared many a blocked flue caused by the build-up of deposits from smokeless fuel.
The sulphur content of smokeless fuel produces Sulphur Dioxide. Sulphur Dioxide can be very corrosive and significantly reduce the life of metal components and cement linings. Steel liners intended for smokeless fuels are usually a higher grade steel.
For an efficient burning process It is important to make sure your wood is well seasoned. Hardwood logs split and dried in open air for 2yrs are ideal. A moisture content under 20% is preferable, (moisture meters are useful tools, and available from good hardware stores).
Following the above advice will help to reduce the build-up of tar/creosote, which is expensive and difficult to remove. It will cling to most surfaces and its removal will put strain on any flue type. The 2 most common causes of which are: un-seasoned wood and incorrectly installed steel liners.
This is the most common fuel choice in our area. Typically burning bituminous coal will produce a large amount of soot. We would recommend sweeping at least once a year. Depending on the amount of use and the condition of your chimney you may need to sweep more regularly.
Most commonly used for heating appliances such as AGA’s/Rayburns and oil fired boilers. Similar to coal, burning oil produces soot. Oil will not typically produce as heavy deposits of soot but usually exhaust through smaller flues. Keeping your flue clear will effectively increase the efficiency of your appliance. We would recommend sweeping at least once a year.
Gas appliances should be swept regularly to ensure the safe passage of toxic gases. As unlikely as it sounds, it only takes a few cobwebs to prevent fumes escaping, in which case they will more than likely be trapped in your home.
The dangers of carbon monoxide are very real. It can kill in less than a minute.
Despite popular belief Carbon monoxide doesn't just apply to gas! Be aware! (http://covictim.org/)
Symptoms include headaches, dizziness and sickness. We strongly recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and having them inspected/replaced at regular intervals.
If you are in any doubt do not hesitate to call a professional for advice.
Bird nests are a common problem, more often from jackdaws. Not only a nuisance; they can make particularly stubborn blockages in relatively small amounts of time.
The best way of preventing them is some form of bird-guard. The all too common basket is rarely the best choice and was never originally designed for chimneys. There are many factors involved when choosing your flue terminal. We would strongly recommend seeking advice before wasting money on the wrong one.
We try to make the advice offered on our site as useful and reliable as possible. However the purpose of this section is to provide homeowners with general advice and useful tips. We cannot possibly cover every aspect or eventuality, nor will it be relevant or appropriate in all circumstances. It is not designed or intended for professional advice and should not be relied on as such.
If in any doubt, you should consult an appropriately qualified expert/professional before acting on any advice contained in this section.
We accept no responsibility (including loss, damage or injury) for your use of the advice on our website.