If you are lucky enough to have a chimney in your home, you should be looking for ways to get the best out of it. It’s often difficult, however, to know exactly how this might be achieved.
Depending on how often your chimney is used, it will need to be swept at least once a year. Many chimney owners neglect this particular chore and instead allow the soot lining the interior of the chimney to accumulate wherein the performance of the chimney to diminish over time.
A clean chimney is a healthy chimney; clearly a chimney which cannot effectively do its job – namely to remove harmful gases from the room – is a dangerous thing indeed.In some cases, the results can even be fatal.This danger can be avoided through sensible maintenance, so that the chimney remains as clear as possible and these fumes are allowed to escape.
As well as slowly poisoning you, smoke which cannot properly escape will cause damage to the interior of your home – it will spread soot though your living room, causing blackened smears to appear across your walls and upholstery – rapidly devaluing them.
Another more dramatic outcome of not having your chimney swept is that it might catch fire.This is because the ash and tar which collects within the chimney is flammable and in sufficient quantity, capable of igniting.This will cause significant damage to the chimney itself and will quickly damage it to the point where it can crack which will require a lot of work to fix. In some(mercifully rare) instances this has resulted in the fire spreading to the rest of the property – with disastrous consequences!
Replace damaged chimneys
If your chimney should become cracked, then it is imperative that you seek to replace it before using it more extensively.The heat that comes from the chimney can escape through any cracks, causing them to rapidly widen – to the point where the chimney itself might fall off the building! In order to avoid this danger, enlist the services of a specialist company like Marcus Roofing.Their website, which lists a whole range of roofing services, can be found at www.marcusroofing.co.uk.
Hire a professional chimney sweep
Many have attempted to clean the interior of their chimney with just a vacuum cleaner.This is not sufficient, as much of the grime and soot which collects within a chimney has solidified and is utterly adhered to the chimney wall.It will need to be removed, using a brush designed for exactly such a purpose.
It is perfectly possible to perform the sweep yourself – provided that you are willing to venture onto the top of your roof.You will need a special long pole and a chimney brush (brushes are available in different shapes to suit standard chimney dimensions). There are several drawbacks to doing this, however.The first prohibiting factor is the cost.While the services of a qualified chimney sweep will cost around £50, the cost of this equipment can amount to a great deal more. Since this is a task which is only performed very occasionally, hiring a professional is often the more sensible option.
Install a bird guard
A common problem for chimneys is that they make excellent locations for birds to make their nests.This problem is particularly troublesome, as one might expect, far out in the countryside where the bird-to-chimney ratio is a great deal less favourable. There are many methods out there to help prevent birds getting inside your chimney,but birds can be very crafty and have been known to remove makeshift solutions.For this reason, it is advisable to invest in a special bird guard for your chimney.These will exclude birds and are rugged enough to withstand any damage birds might inflict while not affecting the efficacy of your chimney.
Do not burn wet wood
You might be forgiven for assuming that if wood is dry enough to catch fire, then it’s dry enough to use as firewood.This assumption is slightly erroneous when it comes to an indoor fire.For one thing, wet wood is liable to spit and crack, sending white hot sparks shooting out – which is not such a problem in a bonfire or campfire, but definitely a problem in your living room. It is particularly important, from the point of view of your chimney’s long-term health, to prevent moisture accumulating in the flume.This can lead to a build-up of tar on the interior walls of the chimney and cause it to require more frequent cleaning.