How often should my chimney be cleaned?

We may have had a sudden cold snap earlier this month, but spring is definitely in the air and the need for getting the fire going is getting less and less frequent. Once you stop using the fireplace for the season it is time to start thinking about getting your annual maintenance set up and done. This is also a good time to consider getting your chimney cleaned, although it may be that you need to do that more than once a year. In this month’s article we explore this query, together with what is involved in the process.

Why it is important to clean your chimney

You may use your fireplace on a daily basis, or you may not use it for over a year or longer. Most people’s use lies somewhere in between the two. There are two main reasons for keeping your chimney clean:

  • It prevents the excessive build-up of soot – or creosote – which could become a fire hazard.
  • It helps keep your chimney clear of birds and other animals which may be using it to make their home during the warmer months when it’s not in use.

A clean chimney is also one that can more easily be inspected for wear and tear, loose bricks, or rusted lining materials. Dealing with those as soon as you identify them will mean that it will be easier to mend or patch and less likely to require an expensive repair or even replacement job.

So how often do I need to clean it?

If you haven’t used it during the year, then early to mid-autumn is a good time to do it. This way you can be sure that any nesting birds will have moved on and that will allow you to remove any debris. Keep in mind that it is illegal to disturb nesting birds or to injure or kill them so you will need to be sure they have flown the nest.

If you are a heavy fireplace user then use the build-up of soot as your guide. Anything thicker than 1/8 of an inch and it can become a fire hazard. Time for a chimney clean, although ideally you shouldn’t let it get to that point.

The right time of year

For those who are more casual fireplace users and don’t have the level of soot build-up yet, an annual chimney clean may be sufficient. Ideally, you want to get this done towards the end of the summer, but it can also be done soon after you stop using it. If you do it earlier in the year, fitting a cap to your chimney may be a good idea to prevent birds from getting in during the summer breeding season. Whatever you do, don’t leave it until the winter when you want to start using the fireplace as it’s a more difficult job to do and getting any repairs done can easily slip into the next season, potentially intensifying them.

For advice on chimney cleaning or to book an appointment get in touch with our Fiveways Fires & Stoves team now. If you are a regular customer look out for our annual inspection and maintenance reminders which will be landing on your doorstep soon. You’ll find us on the phone on 020 8127 4747 or on email at .