As winter is approaching the thought of lighting our Stoves and Open Fires is now not too far in the distant future. For your SAFTEY and Wellbeing please remember to get your Chimneys and Stove Liners swept prior to use by a Registered, Qualified and Experienced Chimney Sweep so that between us all we can hopefully eliminate some of the below and give advice on the rest!.
Birds may have nested in your chimney’s during the spring and summer months without you noticing and if this has happened you don’t want to light your fire only to find the room fills with choking, smelly smoke. Soot and Tar could have built up in your Open Fires Chimney Flue during last season’s burn and if this is not removed it could result in having an unwanted chimney fire. Stove’s stainless steel liners may have become reduced in size during last winter’s burn, due to a build-up of Soot and Tars which stick to its sides, this will result in the stove not operating to its optimum capacity and in some cases can cause the liner to catch fire. Un-lined Stove’s, in our opinion, definitely need extra care. Picture this, you have a Stove with let’s say a 5inch Stove pipe running, in most cases, through a Register Plate which seals off the bottom of your chimney flue. As the gases evacuate from your stove up through this pipe into the chimney flue itself it will cool down a lot quicker than if you had a stainless liner attached. This effect creates more smoke and moister and will lead to a faster build-up of soot and tars especially when burning wood only.
To help eliminate some of this the stove has to be burned very hot. Stoves which are un-lined and run into a masonry flue are, in our opinion, not as likely to sweat as much as those run into a Clay Lined Flue. We have, due to the popularity of Stoves, over the past few years come across an increasing amount of customers who are suffering Tars running back down the chimney flues of masonry and clay lined flues. These tars apart from being a fire risk are very smelly and unsightly when they come down past the register plate and enter the chamber in which the stove is situated. The staining these tars cause are also very difficult to remove from Brickwork and Sandstone hearths.
Some of our clients tell us that they used their chimneys for years with open fires in the hearth and had never had any problems when doing so. But since having an un-lined stove fitted they were experiencing the problems above. Burning kiln dried or dry seasoned logs may help in reducing the above. Also, on a safety note, we always recommend that if you are having a stove fitted without a liner or are opening up a chimney which has not been in commission for many years you should have it Smoke Sound Tested and CCTV Surveyed at the same time before use. A quick Visual look up the chimney and a Smoke Draw Test is not sufficient to ascertain the chimney flues state and safety. Remember that if you live in a semi-detached house where the chimney is shared by a party wall with your neighbour it could affect their safety and wellbeing also.
Nb. Part J of Building Regulations may help you further in any decisions you need to make.
Until the next time Clive the sweep