Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I have my chimney swept?

A clean chimney can help prevent fires and structural damage to your property. Regular cleaning of your chimney or flues will eliminate the build up of soot and clear obstructions such as bird or animal nests, leaves and debris. You will also reduce emissions into the atmosphere by assisting the complete combustion of the fuel.


How often should I have my chimney swept?

Frequency will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, appliance, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, and the type of chimney you have. Your Chimney Sweep will be able to advise on the sweeping frequency during the appointment. The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance purposes only:-


   • Smokeless fuel: at least once a year

   • Wood quarterly when in use

   • Bituminous coal Quarterly when in use

   • Oil: once a year

   • Gas: once a year


When should I have my chimney swept?

HETAS recommend the best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used over a prolonged period. If sweeping twice a year, the second time should be after the peak of the main heating season.


What can cause a chimney fire?

The most common cause of chimney fires are:


   • infrequent sweeping and cleaning

   • burning unseasoned wood

   • improper appliance sizing

   • overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood stoves


What is the best wood to use?


It is important that if you are burning wood that it is dry and well-seasoned, this means that it has 20% or less moisture content. A well-seasoned log will have drying out splits in the ends. You can also use a moisture gage, which are available from hardware stores, to tell you exactly how much moisture your wood contains. It is a good idea to buy your wood at the beginning of the summer and store it outside where it can be exposed to the wind and sun and protected from direct rainfall. Burning wet, newly-felled or coniferous wood can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney which can be hazardous.