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Why Do I Need to Have My Chimney Swept?

Here are the most frequently asked questions about our chimney sweeping services. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, do not hesitate to pick up the phone. Our details are at the bottom of the page.

Do all types of chimney need to be swept?

If you use your fireplace to burn fuel and keep warm, you certainly need to have your chimney swept once a year. Whether you have an open fire or a coal/wood burner, it’s imperative to check over your chimney for sooty buildup and blockages. Why? Think of your chimney as the exhaust of a car. Without it, poisonous fumes and smoke are not able to escape and become dangerous to the driver and passengers. A chimney redirects poisonous gases away from the home in much the same way. Without a working chimney, you are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke penetration within your home.

How often do I need to have my chimney swept?

At least once a year is the recommended minimum. You may require more frequent sweeping depending on what you burn and how often. If you burn a lot of wood then it is recommended to have your chimney swept around Aug/Sept before burning season and half way through the winter, around Dec/Jan time.

What happens to a chimney that is not swept?

The most common problem is the buildup of soot, tar and creosote. After a while without intervention, these deposits decrease the diameter of your chimney and become a hazard. If the smoke backs up inside the chimney you will become exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide which is a poisonous gas. A blocked chimney is also susceptible to chimney fires.

Why is my chimney smoking?

If smoke is making its way back into the room and not being channelled upwards. This can be caused by one of the problems described below or a combination:

  1. Blocked chimney
    As we’ve described above, a blocked chimney can be hazardous and needs to be swept immediately. Once swept, your chimney is free of sooty deposits and is restored to its full diameter.
  2. Cold air
    If you haven’t used your fire in a long time, the air inside the chimney will be cold. Occasionally, the cold, heavy air will be enough to force smoke back down the chimney. This happens when the air in the chimney does not heat quickly enough. Try burning a large amount of newspaper initially, as this will burn quickly and provide heat.
  3. Downdraught
    A brief and inconsistent flow of air can cause a downdraught to blow smoke into the room. Adjacent trees, buildings and tall objects can cause the wind to deflect towards a chimney and down it, but the resultant downdraught is easy enough to remedy. A professional chimney sweep can advise as to the correct cowl to fit on your chimney pot and this will stop rogue winds from making an ash tray of your front room.
  4. Fireplace is too large
    If you have a very large fireplace in a hunting lodge style, this can affect the way that smoke escapes the fire and cause smoke to curl out into the room. This can be solved by lifting the grate so that it is nearer to the chimney opening or by fitting a chimney flue.

London Chimney Sweeps provide the entire capital with comprehensive fireplace and chimney services. Our expert team offer cleaning, fitting of linings, repairs, chimney caps, power flues and more. We are GasSafe and HETAS approved for your peace of mind. For sweeping and a host of other chimney maintenance services in London, contact London Chimney Sweeps today. We’re always happy to help.


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