It’s the best time of year to clean your flue
During autumn and winter, we love to be able to use our wood heaters to keep us warm and our home cosy and inviting. This can all grind to a halt if a flue hasn’t been cleaned and a fire starts, flue fires can spread quickly to the rest of the house.
Even if a dirty flue doesn’t lead to an accidental fire, it can also mean a slow-drawing flue that builds smoke up inside the house.When it comes to cleaning the flue on your wood heater, you can do it yourself, or, if you are in any doubt, call in the professionals.
Why is it so important to clean your flue?
One of the biggest reasons is to prevent a fire in the flue, if a fire does start it will probably spread quickly to the rest of the house. This may happen due to a build-up of organic materials, such as leaves or birds’ nests, soot, and creosote inside the chimney flue. The flue is the masonry or metal duct that extends from the fireplace up to the top of the chimney, with creosote and soot caused when using wood heaters.
The groundwork for a chimney fire begins well in advance of the fire happening, often it can take years of build up before a fire may start. It is for this reason every summer you should consider having your flue cleaned or at least checked to prevent this build up. Also, you want the flue cleaned when it’s not going to be in use.
Even if a flue fire doesn’t consume your home, it can still suffer substantial damage needing expensive repairs.
Signs that your chimney needs cleaning:
- Soot and creosote sometimes fall into your fireplace.
- You burn unseasoned or inadequately seasoned wood, that takes a long time to burn, or doesn’t burn completely. Wood usually needs six months of seasoning to expel enough moisture for proper burning.
- Thick and puffy or honeycombed creosote is present inside the flue
- Smoke accumulates in the house when you have a fire
- You tend to keep the damper semi-open to slow the fire and keep it burning longer
- You burn a lot of artificial logs
Always remember – safety first:
Chimney or flue cleaning is generally a safe project as long as you take a few precautions. You need to protect not only yourself, but your property against creosote, soot and other debris. You can stay clean by wearing a dusk mask, gloves, long sleeve clothing and a hat, and because a chimney or flue brush has sharp metal bristles, wear safety glasses too.
You also need to be able to safely access and/or stand on your roof. Use an extension ladder, not a step ladder, raise the ladder so it not only rests against the eaves it extends at least 60cm above the eaves. Cleaning the flue is the best way to prevent accidental fires keeping you and your family safe.
- Plan ahead and get your heating ready for winter
- Our favourite ethanol heaters
- Gas heating options that will improve your décor
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