Looking after your fire and chimney

Save money by looking after your appliance

Keeping your fire as efficient as possible will save fuel and money. Regular chimney sweeping, appliance maintenance and using fuels that are specifically designed for your appliance will help you to achieve higher temperatures and increase efficiency.

General fire and chimney safety

A healthy dose of common sense will prevent most problems but there are some top tips you should follow;

  • Don’t store wood next to your fire or stove.

  • Try to use wood that contains less than 20% moisture.

  • Use fire guards where appropriate.

  • Burn the recommended fuels for that fire or appliance.

  • Use smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

  • Have the chimney swept regularly by a Guild Sweep. They will do more than just sweep the chimney.

Keep your chimney clean

To ensure maximum efficiency from your fuel and appliance it is important to sweep the chimney regularly. Keeping your chimney clean will minimise the risk of chimney fire and improve efficiency, helping protect against any damage or dangerous gasses.

For your solid fuel appliance ensure that you use a registered chimney sweep from an association such as the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps. It is only though established trade organisations that you can be sure that the job you are paying for will be done correctly and that safety checks will have been made. A registered chimney sweep will also issue an approve certificate. The use of an unregistered, untrained person can result in a false sense of security which may have fatal consequences.

Clean chimneys are much less likely to catch fire

UK fire statistics show that every year thousands of houses have chimney fires. This is due largely to infrequent sweeping, which results in a build-up of flammable soot and tar within the appliance or flue.

The primary causes of chimney fires are:

  • Infrequent sweeping and cleaning.

  • Burning unseasoned wet wood.

  • Improper appliance sizing at the time of purchase.

  • Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in stoves.

Many insurance companies will not pay out for fire damage if it is caused by an upswept chimney. A professional chimney sweep will also be able to provide a valid certificate of sweeping that is recognised by insurance companies. The Guild Sweeps will be able to clean, recommend repairs or maintenance and advise on the safe use of your fire place or appliance.

To help prevent chimney fires

  • Implement a regular sweeping schedule.

  • Comply with building regulations and ensue any new appliance is fitted by and accredited HETAS Installer. Your Guild Sweep will be able to tell you if your solid fuel installation complies with building regulations.

  • Use the appropriate fuel for your appliance and chimney.

  • Ensure that you use the appliance as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Sweeping Frequency

The sweeping of chimneys by a properly trained person should be quick, clean and modern process with very little disruption to you and your home. The frequencies are only a guide and are the minimum recommendation. Your Guild Sweep may advise more regular cleaning depending on our particular situation.

Smokeless coals:


Bituminous coal:



At least once a year

Up to 4 times a year

Twice a year

Once a year

Once a year

Wood burning and air quality see how to get the best out of your stove Click here

Any questions?

Chimney Matters

Blacksmiths Lane, Rede
Bury St Edmunds

IP29 4BE

Tel: 01284 789663

Mobile: 07767 864127

E-mail: chimneymatters@hotmail.com

Find Chimney Matters on the Find a Sweep, Guild of Master Sweeps and HETAS websites


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