Having an open fire is a great experience, especially at the height of winter, but it needs maintenance. A dirty or blocked chimney can be dangerous, so it’s essential to get it swept on a regular basis.
Your flue can easily get blocked by birds’ nests, spider webs or even just the build-up of soot, and this can pose a number of dangers. These range from release of deadly carbon monoxide to a fire that can damage your chimney or even burn down your home.
There’s another danger, though. If a blocked flue leads to a fire and you try to make an insurance claim when you’ve neglected your chimney, the loss adjuster could turn you down. Not what you expect when you’re enjoying a roaring fire on a cold evening.
How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Swept?
That depends largely on what kind of fuel you’re using. In general, a wood fire means you should have the chimney swept at least four times a year, coal twice a year, while with smokeless, oil or gas you’re usually safe with once a year. If you use gas, though, any work you have done must always be carried out, or at least certified, by a Gas Safe engineer.
If you follow the basics, you’re fire should be safe — and, if an unavoidable accident should happen, your insurance claim shouldn’t be rejected by the insurer’s loss adjuster. These are the precautions Allied Claims would suggest you take:
- Have your chimney swept before you start using the fireplace.
- Keep the grate clean, making sure it’s free from ash and soot.
- Avoid using damp wood, as cooler smoke creates more ash.
- Using a fireguard in front of an open fire can prevent sparks flying out from the embers.
- Don’t leave a fire burning unattended — extinguish it before you leave the house or go to bed.
- If you’re using wood, don’t leave your supply too close to the fire, as it could ignite.
- And — invest in a carbon monoxide alarm. Your life and your family’s lives might depend on it.
Making the chimney sweep a regular visitor should mean that good luck will rub off., at least as far as home safety is concerned.