Be honest, when was the last time you made sure your chimney was in good condition? It’s probably hard to remember isn’t it? Before you put the fire on, or leave your Christmas stockings out, here are some chimney maintenance tips to make sure your chimney is strong enough for Santa to come down and that it is working properly during the rest of the year when you want to use it.
Get the chimney checked by a professional roofer
The most important part of ensuring your chimney is ready to use is making certain the structure is sturdy.
The safest way to ascertain whether the chimney is intact is to consult a professional roofer. As well as safely checking the structure, a professional will be able to identify any of the common chimney problems that competent Durham roofers can spot much sooner than the average homeowner.
Such issues might be that the chimney needs its brickwork repointing, its pots need relaunching or its leadwork needs replacing. In extreme cases, a chimney may even need rebuilding, but this is usually only required if a chimney is old.
While the roofer makes their inspections or repairs, they may also be able to check your roof for any other defects that might need sorting out too. This is a great time saving hack as you will get two home maintenance jobs done in one!
Call the chimney sweep
Once you know your chimney is stable enough, it is almost ready to use. If you want to burn anything in your fireplace, or make sure it’s clean enough for Santa to come down, you should firstly hire a chimney sweep. They will make sure the interior of the chimney is free of buildup.
Having a clean and clear chimney is important because burnt material like soot can build up. These materials are flammable and can cause a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning if left too long.
In the UK, it is reported that there are around 7,000 chimney fires per year and most of these can be prevented with proper maintenance.
How frequently you should have your chimney cleaned throughout the year depends on the kind of fireplace you have.
Here is a rough guide on how often you should have your chimney swept according to the National Institute of Chimney Sweeps:
- Once a year for gas and oil fires.
- Quarterly for Bituminous coal and wood fires when in use.
- At least once a year for smokeless fuel fires.
Check you’re using your fireplace correctly
To keep your fireplace and chimney in working order, you need to ensure you are only burning the correct kinds of fuel in it.
Some other practices you should have when using your fireplace include:
- Making sure the room is well ventilated.
- Making sure the damper or flue is open.
- Remove any ashes from previous fires.
- Use a fire guard.
- Do not leave children unattended when the fire is on.
- Making sure it is cool enough on Christmas Eve for Santa to get into the house!