Chimney Testing & Surveying
Smoke Testing of Chimneys
CCTV Surveying of Chimneys
Frequently Asked Questions
Chimney Sweeping & Creasote Removal
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 stocks 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.