Regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues will help prevent fires within chimneys, most chimney fires are preventable.
How often should I have my chimney swept?
Kent Fire & Rescue Service recommend the following:
Solid Fuel Appliances Swept once a year for smokeless fuel and twice per year for coal
Wood Burning Appliances Swept every three months when in use
Gas Appliances Once every year if designed for sweeping
Oil Fired Appliances Once per year
Carbon Monoxide (The silent killer)
Too many people die each year in the UK from Carbon Monoxide poisoning and many become chronically ill, with symptoms including headaches and drowsiness, it's often confused with flu.
Gas stoves, fires and boilers, gas powered water heaters, paraffin heaters, solid fuel powered stoves, wood burners, boilers and water heaters are all capable of producing Carbon Monoxide if not appropriately installed and maintained.
A chimney that is not maintained Can become flammable
It is a known and sadly avoidable fact that dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people.
Not all chimney fires burn explosively and therefore are not noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbours or passersby. Slow-burning chimney fires, starved of enough air or fuel to be as dramatic or visible still reach very high temperatures and can cause as much damage to the chimney structure and nearby combustible materials, with proper care chimney fires are entirely preventable and your sweep will recommend an ideal cleaning schedule to ensure your chimneys safe upkeep. In addition to keeping your chimney clean there are a few other things you can do to prevent chimney fires:
Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than the type of wood used) Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke Avoid burning cardboard boxes, paper, rubbish or Christmas trees, these can spark a chimney fire
Chimney fires burn at about 2000'F that in masonry chimneys can melt the mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Most often tiles crack and mortar is displaced which provides a route for flames to reach the timbers of the house, it is also possible for enough heat to be conducted through a perfectly sound chimney and ignite nearby combustibles.
In pre-fabricated or metal lined chimneys, damage to these systems can still occur, usually in the form of buckled or warped seams and joints. When pre-fabricated or metal chimney liners are damaged by fire they should no longer be used and must be replaced.
Causes of Chimney Fires
Solid fuel stoves and fireplaces are designed to safely contain and burn fuel, providing heat for your home, the chimneys that serve them have the job of expelling the exhaust fumes and substances given off from the burning fuel.
As these substances rise up the chimney and cool down condensation occurs and forms a residue that sticks to the chimney, usually black or brown in appearance, it is highly combustible and in sufficient quantities can catch alight.
Certain conditions encourage the problem, restricted air supply, unseasoned wood and cold chimney temperatures (especially external wall chimneys) are all factors that can accelerate the buildup of flammable residues.
For a reliable service with a professional touch, call Marcus on 01304 761081 or 07971 699220.