It is commonly believed that only gas appliances produce carbon monoxide but ALL combustion and therefore ALL appliances that burn fuel produce carbon monoxide. Your solid fuel stove or open fire produce hundreds of times that of a gas or oil appliance, so this and the risk of chimney fires, is why it is important to have your chimney swept by a competent professional chimney sweep.
The number of chimney fires is increasing every year in the UK with as many as 32 thousand homes in the UK having a chimney fire in 2010. A significant number will be largely due to not getting the chimney swept often enough.
Other commonly contributing factors are:
- Burning fuel that is inappropriate for the appliance.
- Burning fuel with too high a moisture content (logs should be less than 20% water~get a moisture meter).
- Overnight burning / slumbering fire – *please don’t do this, it can be dangerous, costly and is highly polluting.
- Unsuitable or inefficient stove or chimney.
A professional chimney sweep should be able to give you good basic information on the use of your appliance and fuel. This advice may well save you the cost of their visit in fuel savings each year.
Today many Insurance companies will no longer pay out for chimney fire damage unless the flue has been swept and maintained by a professional chimney sweep at least once a year.
Also, some fire brigades when called out to a chimney fire that is then found to be caused by the flue not being maintained can cause the local council to bill you for the call out. This has been known to be up to £2000 per fire crew and we have been telephoned on several occasions on this matter.
*** Just remember if your chimney is clean it will not catch fire (because there is nothing in it to burn!) ***
Both the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) and Solid Fuel Association (SFA) strongly recommend:
1. smokeless fuel systems be swept once a year.
2. bituminous (normal house coal) coal twice a year,
3. wood quarterly ie. four times a year.
4. Oil and Gas once a year.
NB/ For the purposes of these sweeping schedules there are two seasons in our year:
- February to June
- August till December