This depends on how often you use your fire and what you burn. A general guideline is: For occasional evening and weekend use, once a year is enough. For more frequent use, especially if you burn a lot of wood, you should have your chimney swept once before you start having fires, usually in the autumn and then once again half way through the burning season, about January.
Yes think of your chimney as the “safety hatch” for your fireplace or log/coal burner. It provides a “safe way” for poisonous gases and fumes to escape. It is essential to keep it clean and maintained. Whether you have an open chimney or a stainless steel flue, they both need to be swept at least once a year.
how long does it take to have your chimney cleaned?
Solution – All fires need air to make them burn properly. A lot of properties are very well insulated with double glazing etc. thus not allowing a flow of replacement air into the room. This can be solved by fitting air vents or simply leaving the door to the room open.
If you're having a chimney professional come to clean your fireplace flue, it's probably a good idea to have him or her take a look at your furnace/water heater flues as well. How long will it take?
Every flue is different, but on average a thorough cleaning should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
What will happen if my chimney is not swept?
Why does my chimney smoke?
Many things can happen. The most common being a build-up of soot, tar and a substance called creosote. These build ups will reduce the diameter of your chimney, reducing the effectiveness of your fireplace/stove, and allow poisonous gases (Carbon Monoxide) to escape into the room. There is also a big risk of a chimney fire.
There are different reasons why your chimney may smoke. Below is a list of the major causes. It may be that only one, or a combination of any of them could cause the smoke to blow back into your room.
Solution – Having the chimney swept will either correct the problem or highlight where and what the blockage could be. The chimney sweep can then advise on what work will then be necessary.
Cold air up the chimney
Solution – If a fire hasn’t been lit for a while, the air up the chimney can get cold. Cold air is heavy and if the flue isn’t heated quickly enough, the cold air will force the smoke back into the room. Initially, just burn newspaper as this will create a lot of heat quickly and will move the air upwards.
Solution – Downdraught is a brief flow of air down the chimney resulting in puffs of smoke being pushed back into the room. One reason for downdraught is that the chimney stack has been built too short and another could be trees, buildings or other large high objects interfering with the wind flow. To help with this problem, a cowl can be fitted on to the pot. It is advisable to ask your chimney sweep which type of cowl to use as there are many different designs suited for different problems. If the incorrect cowl is fitted, it may make the problem worse.