This is a question we hear a lot. Solid fuel appliances can create many different types of build up with every day use, it all depends on what you are burning & how often, but with general use we recommend you get your chimney swept at least once a year & perhaps twice or more a year if you are using it a lot.
The correct fuel
It is important to source good quality fuel to burn on your appliance, if you are burning wood, it is advisable to ensure it has a moisture content of 20% or less, any higher & you may encounter tar build up. Tar is very bad for solid fuel appliances & chimneys, greatly reducing there lifespan, it is also highly flammable & there is a potential for chimney fires or blocked flues. Digital wood moisture meters are available relatively cheap online & are a great edition to your solid fuel setup, they can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Mixing wood & coal can create creosote build ups in your appliance & chimney, this is very acidic & will reduce there lifespan, if you want to burn coal it is important to source a good quality material, talk to your coal merchant explaining your appliance & chimney setup & they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Looking after your appliance, getting your chimney swept regularly & making sure you burn the correct fuel will ensure you get maximum productivity & lifespan saving you money in the long run!
Birds nests are a big problem during the springtime as nest building is in full swing. Birds like nothing better than a nice warm, dry chimney to nest in! It is well worth being prepared & ensuring your chimney has the right protection to stop the little blighters setting up home, an appropriate bird guard or cowl should do the job. We can offer advice & fit the correct protection for you.
Bear in mind that removing a nest once it is established is against the law, we will be able to clear it once the fledglings have left & the nest is no longer in use but prevention is a far better option & removing a large nest can be more costly than a standard sweep due to the extra work involved.
Don’t just think about sweeping your chimney when it gets cold!
It is understandable that you may not be thinking ahead to the cold times during the warm summer months, but please do bear in mind, your chimney sweep will be extremely busy during “silly season” (September – March), this is the time that everybody suddenly realises they need there chimneys swept & It can be difficult to fit everybody in during these times.
Its worth considering it can be beneficial to have your chimney swept after nesting season, during the summer months, dirty, nest blocked or tarred up chimneys can create smells in the humid weather & soot or tar build ups may react with condensation to have a detrimental effect on your appliance & flue. Being prepared for winter by getting your chimney swept in the summertime will ensure you get a prompt sweeping service & your appliance is ready to go when you need it!