UK fire statistics show that each year on average over 30 thousands houses have chimney fires.  This will be largely due to not getting the chimney swept often enough or burning fuel that is inappropriate for the appliance and causing tar to build up in the chimney.

Chimney fires can not only destroy homes but also endanger the occupiers of the dwelling.

Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have enough fuel to be as dramatic or visible as their more spectacular cousins.  The temperatures they reach are very high and can cause damage to the chimney structure and nearby combustible parts of the house.  Use only recommended fuels for your appliance and flue type (if you are unsure check your manufactures instructions, ask your stove supplier, or a NACS Chimney Sweep).

Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gases.  Regular sweeping will remove soot, bird nests, cobwebs and any other blockages.  It also removes creosote, which will help to prevent dangerous chimney fires.  Chimney Sweeping will also help to  increase the efficiency of appliances.  The frequency of Chimney Sweeping will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, appliance, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, and the type of chimney you have.  Our NACS Chimney Sweep will be able to advise on the sweeping frequency during the appointment.  The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance purposes only:

  • Smokeless Fuel: At least once a year
  • Wood: Quarterly when in use
  • Bituminous Coal: Quarterly when in use
  • Oil: Once per year
  • Gas: Once per year

NACS Chimney Sweeps are very mindful and conscious of making as little mess as possible, and are in fact trained in the prevention of dust escaping during sweeping.  Normally Chimney Sweeps will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in.  They may suggest you clear any ornaments from the hearth and mantelpiece, and perhaps you could clear the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish etc before the sweep arrives.

Gas and oil flues will also need to be swept.  It is essential that all flues are kept clean and clear of debris and vermin nests.  It will also help with the prevention of chimney fires and even carbon monoxide poisoning.  If you have just moved house, then it is important you have your chimney swept as soon as possible as you may not necessarily know when it was last cleaned properly by a professional Chimney Sweep.  Always ensure you receive a NACS Certificate of Chimney Sweeping.  Your Chimney Sweep will also provide advice on your Chimney, heating appliances, what fuels to use, and the best practice for fuel storage.

Chimney Sweeps that are Members of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) undertake an extensive training program and have to successfully complete a full assessment prior to becoming and trading as a NACS Member.  All NACS Members must hold valid insurance for Chimney Sweeping, of which they provide a copy of to the Association on an annual basis.  They must also have the correct equipment to be able to undertake the job which is checked at the time of their assessment.  You can search for a NACS Chimney Sweep in your area by visiting the NACS website www.nacs.org.uk.

NACS Chimney Sweeps are:

  • All trained and qualified
  • Fully insured
  • Issue an Industry Standard Certificate of Chimney Sweeping for every Chimney cleaned
  • Follow the Industry Standard Code of Practice
  • Able to inspect and survey Chimneys using CCTV equipment

Frequently Asked Questions

This next section is dedicated to answering the questions that many customers have when it comes to having their chimney swept and using it correctly.

You can search for a NACS Chimney Sweep in your area by clicking on the “Sweep Search” tab on this website, and by selecting your County from the dropdown box. This will provide details on all the NACS Chimney Sweeps that cover your area, and will also advise a full list of services that each Chimney Sweep provides, which is updated on a regular basis.
Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular sweeping will remove soot, bird nests, cobwebs and any other blockages. It also removes creosote, which will help to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Chimney Sweeping will also increase the efficiency of some appliances.
Frequency will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, appliance, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, and the type of chimney you have. Your NACS Chimney Sweep will be able to advise on the sweeping frequency during the appointment. The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance purposes only:- Smokeless fuel: At least once a year Wood: Quarterly when in use Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use Oil: Once a year Gas: Once a year
NACS Chimney Sweeps undertake a rigorous training course and have to successfully complete a full assessment prior to becoming a NACS Member. All NACS Members must hold valid insurance for Chimney Sweeping, of which they provide a copy of to the Association on an annual basis. They must also have the correct equipment to be able to undertake the job which is checked at the time of their assessment.
NACS Chimney Sweeps are very mindful and conscious of making as little mess as possible, and are in fact trained in the prevention of dust escaping during sweeping. However, there are exceptional circumstances e.g. if a chimney may be blocked with a birds nest, which makes it difficult to guaranteed that no mess will be made.
Normally they will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. They may suggest you clear any ornaments from the hearth and mantelpiece, and perhaps you could clear the grate of any fuel, ash or rubbish etc before the sweep arrives.
Yes, although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot, there are still numerous other problems which can affect chimney function which sweeping can solve or identify. It will also help with the prevention of chimney fires and even carbon monoxide poisoning.
NACS Chimney Sweeps normally show you this to demonstrate that the flue has been swept throughout its length.
This depends on a number of factors including the type of appliance or chimney you have, the time the job will take to complete properly, and the location within the UK.
Yes, as you may not necessarily know when it was last cleaned properly by a professional Chimney Sweep.
For certain appliances there is a recommended fuel which is the one that should be used. In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting fuel. Wood that has been properly seasoned is commonly used as it is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. However, some people prefer using coal as it suits them better. If you are thinking of using coal, then we recommend you use a local approved coal merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you. Please remember that some areas of the UK are smoke free zones, which must also be taken into consideration when selecting fuel.
If a chimney is closed off, it can become damp. If there is soot in your chimney, then this soot can turn into a black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If the damp gets bad, then it can penetrate through the wall into the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls.
This may be caused by smoke leaking back into the room; call your local NACS Chimney Sweep to seek their advice as soon as possible.
Seek the advice of your local NACS Chimney Sweep who will be able to advise you on a suitable terminal / guard for your chimney.