Unswept chimneys will not just cause soot to cascade down into your home, causing a mess. They can also be hazardous, and in particular they can pose a significant fire hazard. As such, it is essential to be aware of when to sweep your chimney, and to include regular chimney sweeping sessions into your overall chimney maintenance regime.
When to sweep your chimney
Chimneys should be swept at least annually, though experts recommend six monthly chimney sweeps for safety. In addition, you should book an additional chimney sweep if you notice any of these danger signs:
- Soot coming down the chimney.
- Fires sputtering, going out, or being hard to start (this can be a result of soot clogging the chimney and obstructing the air flow).
- A chimney fire. This is a very significant warning sign and could mean that your chimney has become severely clogged with soot and other debris.
Moreover, if your chimney has been in disuse for more than a couple of months, it is a good idea to have it swept out before you start to use it again. This is because plants can start to grow in disused chimneys, and there have also been several cases of birds building nests in unused chimneys and these nests need to be humanely removed before the chimney can be used once more.
Why do chimneys need sweeping?
Chimneys need sweeping because, in the course of their lives, soot and other debris can built up in them. The most common debris to built up in your chimney will include:
- Particles of soot.
- Dust particles.
- Debris such as plant matter or small stones that blow in either from crumbling bricks or nesting birds.
Luckily, it is easy to remove this debris with regular sweeping. The emphasis here is on regular chimney sweeping: it can be harder to remove debris in a chimney that has been allowed to build up for a few years - or even decades. If your chimney is kept nice and clean, your fire will work perfectly. It will burn brightly and cleanly, giving you maximum warmth for the maximum time instead of blowing smoke and soot into the house or taking ages to light only to go out.
Why it is best to hire a professional chimney sweeping service
Firstly, chimney sweeping is a time consuming and potentially messy business. Letting a professional chimney sweep get to work on your chimneys whilst you head out to work will mean that you can enjoy sparkling clean chimneys on your return without any effort on your part. In addition, sweeping a chimney requires specialist equipment and expertise. This is especially the case with older chimneys, which can feature corners or other irregularities of design which need to be tackled with special brushes.
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Take good care of your chimney - and thus of your whole home - by keeping up to date with your chimney sweep appointments.