Michael Marshall T/A Hot Flue - Unit 102, 3 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2FJ - 01225 430589 / 07376 004501

National Association of Chimney Sweeps Member No.18/019 - HETAS Registered Chimney Sweep and Installer Co. No. 7739

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my chimney need sweeping?

Your chimney allows the hot poisonous gasses produced when you have a fire to escape your home. Over time, soot and creosote stick to the inside of the flue within your chimney. These deposits can ignite and cause dangerous chimney fires. When deposits accumulate, the flue narrows and lethal carbon monoxide can leak back into your home. By regularly having your chimney swept, deposits are removed which reduces these risks, and optimises your chimney's performance.

How often does my chimney need sweeping?

Official NACS advice recognises that this will depend upon several factors including how often you have a fire, what fireplace appliance and chimney you use and what type of fuel you burn. For customers who burn properly seasoned wood once or twice a week during the burning season we recommend an annual sweep. More frequent users should have more frequent sweeps and we are always happy to provide tailored advice for individual customers. 

Is having my chimney swept messy?

Whilst your chimney may be dirty inside, we do everything possible to ensure that we protect your home and furnishings whilst we work. We use purpose designed, heavy duty waterpoof nylon, and thick denim sheets to protect the area around your fireplace. The vacuum we use to remove debris is designed for hazardous waste and has advanced three stage HEPA filtration ensuring that any soot, debris and dust is safely contained inside it. 

How long does it take to sweep my chimney?

Whilst all chimneys differ, a full sweep usually takes around an hour. This can vary depending upon flue height, the deposits found inside, ease of access and what method of sweeping is employed. We schedule sufficient time between our appointments to ensure that we never compromise on the quality of the services that we offer due to time pressure. 

What fuel is best to use?

We recommend well seasoned wood with a moisture content of less than 20%. The drier the wood, the higher its calorific value, the better it will burn and the more heat it will produce. A fresh green log will only have about half the energy value of a well seasoned log of the same type. Hardwood (e.g. oak, ash, beech, birch, elm) is denser than soft wood (e.g. cedar, pine, yew) and will tend to burn longer and require fewer 'top ups'. In Smoke Control Areas (such as the City of Bath) smokeless fuels are available for those who do not have a DEFRA approved appliance.

What is a chimney fire?

Chimney fires result from combustible material inside your flue catching fire. During normal use, a fire produces various by-products including smoke, gasses, vapour, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbons such as creosote, acids and minerals. As these rise they cool and stick to the sides of your flue. Over time these deposits build up, and being highly combustible can suddenly ignite resulting in devastating chimney fires which can burn at temperatures up to 1100°C. The signs of a chimney fire include flames and sparks being visible at the top of your chimney, a loud roaring noise coming from inside your chimney, a glowing and very hot flue pipe and smoke and distinct burning smells being present in your home. Due to the temperatures involved, it is highly likely that any chimney fire will cause damage to the inside of your chimney regardless of whether it is made of brick, clay or metal flue liner. In order to determine the extent of this damage it will need to be inspected internally to check that it is safe to use. We have the equipment and expertise to conduct these inspections and offer appropriate advice.

*** If you suspect that you have a chimney fire, evacuate and call the Fire Service immediately on 999 ***

Do I need a carbon monoxide alarm?

Yes. Any home with a solid fuel appliance should have a carbon monoxide alarm, and we would recommend that you have two. One for the room where the appliance (fire) is and another for the sleeping area. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas which is produced due to the incomplete compbustion of fuels. Sadly, it can and does kill. Carbon monoxide alarms are an inexpensive way to detect a build up of carbon monoxide and they tend to last for 5 - 7 years. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with other ailments and include headaches, breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, collapse, loss of consciousness, tiredness, drowsiness, vomiting, chest pains, stomach pains, erratic behaviour and visual problems. Carbon monoxide risk must be taken seriously. An alarm should be present any air vents for the room free from any obstructions. We are able to supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with Building Regulations. 

*** If you suspect that your appliance is leaking carbon monoxide, immediately open doors and windows to ventilate your home and do not use it again until it has been checked and deemed safe to use. Consider your symptoms and seek medical assistance - urgently if required ***