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Chimney safety

Keeping your chimney clean will help prevent chimney fires and structural damage to your property. Your fire will be more efficient and burn more cleanly, reducing your environmental impact and your heating costs.

If you think you have a chimney fire – look out for these signs and know what to do.

How to keep your chimney clean

  • Book a professional, accredited chimney sweep to come and clean your chimney. Find out how to choose a chimney sweep.
  • Look for a chimney sweep who is accredited, and able to provide you with a certificate upon completion of work. They will also be able to inspect your chimney.
  • Don’t try to clean your chimney using a vacuum cleaner.

How often should I have my chimney swept?

The answer to this question depends on what you are burning to make your fire. A reputable chimney sweep should be able to advise but here is some guidance:

  • Wood - every three months
  • Smokeless fuels - at least once a year
  • Bituminous coal - at least once a year when using
  • Oil - once a year
  • Gas - once a year

Have a fire safely at home

As with most things, you need to use your common sense when it comes to having an open fire, or using a wood, gas or oil burning stove at home.


  ✖ Don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol, paraffin to light your fire.
  ✖ Don’t burn paper or rubbish.
  ✖ Don’t overfill your fire.
  ✔ Have working smoke alarms fitted on every floor of your house.
  ✔ Use a fire guard or spark guard to reduce the risk of a spark causing a more serious fire.
  ✔ Get your gas fire serviced once a year by a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer.
  ✔ Put the fire out completely before going to bed or leaving the house.
  ✔ Every few months take a look in your loft when a fire is burning to check for any smoke
      or signs of structural damage from the chimney.

Open fires in thatched properties

If you live in a property with a thatched roof, having a fire can be dangerous if you don’t do it carefully. Read more about being fire safe in a thatched property.

Signs of a chimney fire

  • A loud roaring noise, which occurs as massive amounts of air are sucked in.
  • Sparks and flames shooting like fireworks from the chimney top.
  • A glowing or shimmering appliance outlet or connector.
  • Vibrating appliance, outlet or connector.
  • Flames visible through any tiny cracks in the outlet or connector.
  • Smoke and odours noticeable in adjoining rooms or the loft space.
  • The heating up of the chimney breast or flue pipe, both in the same room as the appliance and also other rooms that the flue passes through.

What to do if your chimney catches fire

  • Leave the room, close the door and alert other people in the house
  • Get out of the house, stay out, call 999.

How to find a competent and qualified chimney sweep

Find a competent and qualified chimney sweep through one of these websites.

All our safety information can be made available in other languages. Please contact 0800 050 2999 to request a copy.

 

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