You love that roar and crackle of your wood-fired heater, but have you had your flue checked recently? If not, you could be putting your family’s safety at risk. Your wood fired heater should be checked once a year and the flue cleaned regularly by your local chimney sweep
Why you should always check your flue – before winter.
- The more fires you build, the more creosote builds up in your flue. The flue is the channel within a fireplace that carries the smoke away from the fire and up and away from your house. The inside of your chimney, whether it is lined or not, is called a flue.
- Creosote is a black or brown tar like substance that is highly flammable. It is produced when you burn unseasoned or treated firewood. If this creosote isn’t cleaned out regularly it could ignite and cause a fire inside the chimney.
- Other hazards include birds’ nests. During summer birds and other animals may build nests in your chimney, just like creosote nests can be flammable. A qualified chimney sweep will be able to remove nests or any other debris that has settled during the warmer months, it’s important this is cleared away before lighting your first fire of the season.
- A professional chimney sweep will inspect your whole fireplace, including flue, chimney, brick seams and damper seals for any cracks or safety problems. He will also inspect those hard-to-see areas that are hidden from your eyes, and, he’ll be able to spot any issues that aren’t obvious to the *trained eye*
- The lifespan of a flue can be reduced if creosote and soot are not cleaned out at least once a year. Creosote and soot traps moisture against the flues surface which can cause damage.
- A blocked flue causes a fire to burn poorly, which heats your home unevenly, it also stops smoke and other harmful gases from being vented properly out the chimney. Your furniture, walls, clothes and other surfaces may start to smell like smoke and become discoloured from a sticky residue.
- Most importantly, a blocked flue can cause hot gases and smoke to back-up into the home, which is dangerous.
- Some people are unaware that insurance policies may require that a fireplace flue be cleaned at least once a year. If a fire does happen, and you don’t have proof that your fireplace and chimney have been cleaned by a professional chimney sweep, your insurance may not cover it.
- When you do have your wood fired heaters flue swept, make sure you get all the proper documentation – and keep it in a safe place.
Before the start of each winter you should have your flue inspected, cleaned and cleared of any debris or build up that could start a fire. A professional chimney sweep has the skills, know-how and tools to get the job done thoroughly.