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When Do I Need to Clean My Chimney Flue?

Stapleford Roofing · Cleaning and maintenance · August 23, 2019

Having a wood-burning fireplace is a luxury, one that can provide the cosiest of atmospheres and a ‘genuine’ warmth that electric fires and central heating just cannot match. However, this luxury comes with some added responsibility; the cleaning of chimney flues. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best times to clean your chimney flue. 

How do I know when I need to clean my chimney flue?

There’s no exact time that you should clean your chimney flue, but there’s one key sign that your chimney needs a clean: the buildup of creosote. Creosote occurs when wood does not burn completely in a fire, and the tar vapors condense within the flue and stick to its sides. If not removed, there is a chance that this buildup can lead to a chimney fire, which can be dangerous. 

Combustion gases need to be able to pass through your chimney freely in order for the chimney to work properly and safely, so chimney flue cleaning is crucial. 

How do I check for creosote?

Checking your chimney for creosote buildup requires a little creativity. First, make sure there is no downdraft – you can tape some tissue to the fireplace and watch its movement; if it indicates air flowing downwards, open a door or window in the same room. Keep checking the tissue; when it starts to change direction, that means the downdraft has reversed. 

Before going further, ensure you have eye protection and a dust mask. Use your fireplace poker to scratch the black parts above the smoke chamber – if the line you make is very thin, there’s no buildup. Anything deeper than ⅛ inch means you need a cleaning soon, and anything deeper than ¼ inch means you need to schedule a cleaning as quickly as possible. 

How often should my chimney flue be cleaned?

You should aim to have your chimney inspected once a year. Even if you don’t use your chimney very much, an inspection can be useful for checking that there are no potential problems developing. If you are a regular user of your fireplace, then you certainly need to have regular inspections; even the smallest issue can snowball over time and develop into a serious problem; and serious chimney problems can incur a lot worse than a financial cost. 

Unless you happen to work in the chimney cleaning industry, it is best to hire a professional to clean your chimney instead of attempting it yourself. Qualified, certified and trusted experts like Stapleford Roofing are the people to call for chimney work. 

Stapleford Roofing are proud to provide chimney repairs and installations for customers throughout Nottingham and Derby. For more information about our work, please contact us today – we’re always happy to help.


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