Kevin Obrien, a HETAS approved Chimney Sweep and Member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, gives you his top 5 tips for caring for your Fireplace, Stove and Chimney this winter. And if you need any help or advice then feel free to get in touch.
Caring for your Fireplace, Stove and Chimney is an important part of ownership. Good care and maintenance will not only keep you safe from harmful fumes and deadly carbon monoxide but also ensure that your fireplace, stove or chimney is in top condition and performs at its best.
1 Burn good quality fuel
Soot build up can cause carbon monoxide and is a fire risk, especially if it restricts the flow of air up into your chimney. The rule is that the poorer the quality of fuel the greater the soot build up. I have serviced fireplaces, stoves and chimneys and found hardly any soot residue when the owner has used a good quality fuel. I recommend that you use seasoned timber from a reputable retailer. It should have a moisture content of around 15% for the best burn and minimal soot.
2 Don’t clear the ash too often
Ash is a good insulator and can help your stove heat up more quickly. So you should always start a new fire on top of the old ash. Do however, clean away any excess soot every two to three months when the the stove or fireplace is in regular use.
4 Keep the space around your stove or chimney clear
Make sure that any hazardous material is kept well clear from your stove or fireplace. This is to reduce the risk of the fire spreading should any hot embers escape. Outside, ensure branches from trees are cut back kept away from the chimney. Consider installing a cowl (chimney cap) to keep debris, water and birds out.
5 Hire a professional chimney sweep
Not only will a professional chimney sweep be able to service your stove and clean your flue but they will make it more efficient and safe too. A good HETAS certified sweep, like myself, will check and replace the rope around the doors of your stove (if necessary), check the seals around the doors and pipes for smoke leakage and give your entire stove a thorough clean. Once complete, a HETAS certified sweep will certify your stove as safe to use and issue a certificate as evidence.