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Check Your Chimney!

As the summer draws to a close and we prepare for colder evenings, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging people who have open fires or stoves to take care.

Please ensure your chimney is in good condition and is regularly swept.

A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire. So regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues can help to identify and eliminate issues before they become a problem.

Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a certified chimney sweep. The recommended frequencies depend upon the fuel you burn.

As a quick guide, recommended frequencies are:

  • Smokeless coal – at least once a year
  • Wood – up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal – twice a year
  • Oil or gas – once a year (refer to the Gas Safe Register for gas)

It is also important to have working smoke alarms in your home and that you test them once a month.

If you are using an open fire or stove it is also advisable to invest in a carbon monoxide detector, as early warning can make the difference.

Top tips – Safe Chimney Use

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed.
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.
  • If you have recently opened up, or are about to start to use a fireplace, make sure it is inspected by a qualified person.
  • When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes or paper.
  • Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space.
  • Make sure that the chimney breast is sound, and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
  • Ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly.
  • Consider fitting a carbon monoxide detector.


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