Clifford’s Fireplaces Ltd.

Chimney Testing & Surveying

Our Services

Chimney Testing & Surveying

Chimney smoke testing & CCTV surveying plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety, structural integrity, and efficiency of residential and commercial chimneys. By employing advanced inspection techniques and specialized equipment, chimney surveys can identify potential hazards such as blockages, leaks, or structural damage that may compromise the proper functioning of the chimney. With a profound understanding of industry standards and regulations, Clifford’s Fireplaces Ltd. has established itself as a reliable authority in chimney surveying, offering comprehensive assessment services that enable clients to make informed decisions regarding the maintenance and upkeep of their chimney systems.

Smoke Testing of Chimneys

Clifford's Fireplaces can carry out a full range of smoke testing of chimneys & flues.
The purpose of smoke testing a chimney is to establish whether or not a flue is sound, fit for use and has adequate draught to ensure the safe removal of smoke and to ensure that the combustion gases evacuate from the fireplace upwards and out through the chimney pot and not leak into any other areas which surround the chimney system.
The smoke test will identify cracks and leaks in the chimney flue which if unidentified could result in harmful gases and Carbon Monoxide leaking into your home or that of a neighbour.
The smoke test is carried out in accordance with the relevant building regulations and European Standards. It is a requirement prior to smoke testing to first sweep the chimney to ensure that it is clear and free from soot which could block existing cracks in the chimney flue.

CCTV Surveying of Chimneys

A comprehensive chimney CCTV survey reveals the inside of the chimney flue to check the condition for complete peace of mind.
Obstructions found during chimney cleaning can be clearly identified, without a CCTV chimney inspection these obstructions and blockages would not be visible without major intrusive works to the chimney structure.
We use the most up to date CCTV camera inspection equipment to bring you this service and can supply corresponding information, reports and a video file of the inspection.
The CCTV survey can be carried out by passing the camera upwards from the fireplace opening or from the chimney top downwards depending on safe access being available.
Prior to carrying out a CCTV chimney survey it is usually necessary to first carry out a thorough chimney sweeping of the flue concerned to ensure that nothing is being hidden behind soot or Creosote build ups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chimney Sweeping & Creasote Removal

Chimneys need to allow 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 increase the efficiency of some appliances.

Frequency will depend on a number of factors which include the type of fuel used, the appliance, the duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel and the type of chimney you have. If you contact us we will be able to advise you on how often your own chimney should be swept. The following sweeping frequencies are for guidance purposes only: Smokeless Fuel = At least once a year. Wood = Quarterly when in use. Bituminous Coal = Quarterly when in use. Oil & Gas = Once a year.

While every measure will be taken to make as little mess as possible and to prevent dust escaping during sweeping in certain circumstances where the chimney is excessively dirty or indeed blocked it can be very difficult to guarantee that no mess will be made.
Normally you will just need to clear a passage to the fire opening to give adequate space to work within. It may be advisable to remove any ornaments etc from the hearth or mantelpiece and you should clear any fuel, ash or rubbish from the fire opening.
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 carbon monoxide poisoning.
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 of the property. If you would like to call our sales team they will be able to advise you on costs.
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 (dried) 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 it would be recommended that you use a local approved coal merchant who should have expert knowledge to guide you in selecting the correct fuel for your appliance and your needs. Please remember that some areas are governed by Smoke Control Legislation 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 the 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. We would recommend that the flue be swept and that ventilation be maintained within same.

This may be caused by smoke leaking back into the room. This could be dangerous and we would advise that you seek professional advice immediately. 

Fireplaces and stoves are designed to safely contain solid fuel fires while providing heat for your home. The chimneys that serve them have the job of expelling the by-products of combustion, the substances produced when fuels are burned. These include smoke, water vapour, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon volatile, tar fog and assorted materials. As these substances exit the fireplace or stove and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called Creosote. 

Creosote is black or brown in appearance. It can be crusty and flaky, tar like or shiny and hardened. Often all forms will occur in one chimney system. Whatever form it takes Creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities and catches fire inside the chimney / flue the result will be a chimney fire.

Certain conditions encourage the build up of Creosote that is, restricted air supply, unseasoned wood and cooler than normal chimney temperatures all can accelerate the build up of Creosote on chimney flue walls. Air supplies on fires / stoves may be restricted by closed glass doors or by failure to open the damper wide enough to move heated smoke up the chimney rapidly, the longer the smoke’s “residence time” in the flue, the more likely it is that Creosote will form. A stove’s air supply can be limited by closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon and too much, and by improperly using any stove pipe damper to restrict air movement. Burning unseasoned wood, because so much energy is used initially just to burn off the water trapped inside the wood the resulting smoke will be cooler as it moves through the chimney / flue. Cool flue temperatures speed up Creosote production.

When chimney fires occur in masonry chimneys the high temperatures at which they can burn can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage outer masonry material. Most often if tiles crack or mortar is displaced this provides a pathway for flames to reach the combustible frame of the house.

Chimney fires can occur without warning and without being noticed. If you do notice a chimney fire you should contact the fire brigade immediately. If you suspect you may have had a fire in the past feel free to contact us to arrange a survey of your chimney after which we will be able to advise you better.

If your chimney is lined with Creosote there are various treatments and methods for removal. Depending on the level of Creosote found within the chimney, the construction of the chimney and what the chimney is being used for we will be able to recommend the best possible solution for each individual case. Contact our sales team today for more information.

CLICK HERE To see AA Ireland’s latest advice on avoiding chimney fires.

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