When Do You Need Chimney Sweeping Services?
While having the chimney swept is not something that is a priority for many of us, that doesn’t change the fact that the chimneys in our houses do need to be cleaned from time to time. While it may be tempting to ignore the need to have your chimneys cleaned, the hazards posed by a chimney that is dirty or clogged up are too serious to disregard. Long periods of use can cause creosote to accumulate in the chimney. This in turn causes deadly gases such as carbon monoxide to be released into your home. Additionally, a blocked chimney poses a very real fire hazard in your home. Considering all this, it becomes very important for you to keep an eye on your chimney and have it cleaned at regular intervals.
The question now arises — when should you avail yourself of chimney sweep in Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13? How often should the chimney be cleaned? Is it time for you to have the chimney inspected? There is no hard and fast rule about how often or when you should have your chimney cleaned up. It depends upon plenty of factors some of which are the type of appliance you use and how frequently creosote forms in your chimneys.
Appliance Frequency — When it comes to the type of appliance you are using, the number of times you should have the chimney cleaned and swept varies. If you are using a wood burning stove, then the chimney should be swept once every three months when the stove is in use. In the case of an appliance that uses smokeless fuel, having the chimney swept once a year is generally enough. The same is true for oil stoves and gas fireplaces that have been designed for chimney sweeping. If you use a coal burning appliance, it is advisable to have it cleaned at least twice a year. If you aren’t sure about whether the chimney needs to be swept, schedule a chimney inspection by a reliable chimney sweep service.
Creosote Build-up — Apart from the type of appliance you use, another factor to consider is whether creosote has built up in the flue or not. To do this, first you must understand why and how creosote builds up in your chimney. When fuel, especially wood, is incompletely burned, creosote can form in the chimney. A fire that smokes a lot because of lack of oxygen can emit a lot of tar vapours. These vapours then condense inside the flue of the chimney and stick to the inside of the flue eventually leading to a chimney fire.
To check whether creosote has built-up in your chimney, the first thing you must do is ensure that there is no downdraft coming from the chimney. You can do this by sticking a tissue to the fireplace and observing the direction of its movement. If there is a downdraft, open windows and doors on the same floor as the fireplace until the flow of air is reversed and the air flows back up the chimney.
Wear a dust mask and a pair of goggles to protect your face and your eyes. Light a torch and use the poker from your fireplace to scratch the black surface above the smoke chamber. If the groove you have scratched in is very thin, the chimney does not need to be swept. If the groove is one-eighth of an inch thick, you need to schedule a cleaning soon. If the groove is one-fourth of an inch thick, do not use the fireplace till the chimney has been cleaned because a chimney fire could happen at any time.
If you aren’t very sure of the results of your own inspection, hire a chimney sweep service to inspect the flue and tell you whether the chimney needs to be swept or not. Although there are no regulations in place regarding how often you should have your chimney inspected, it is a good idea to have a professional, trained and qualified chimney sweep inspect your chimney at least once every year.