Homeowners urged to sweep chimneys

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It might be the height of summer but homeowners with open fires and wood burners are being urged to get their chimneys swept in time for the return of colder weather.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 172 chimney fires across the county in last year.

The service believes many of the fires would have been preventable if chimneys had been swept regularly to avoid build-up of flammable materials in the flue.

Group Manager Steve Helps said: “There are four main reasons for chimney fires happening – infrequent sweeping and cleaning, burning unseasoned wet wood, improper appliance sizing and overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood burners.”

Sweeping the flue/chimney removes deposits which have built up due to the burning of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, wood, oil and gas. It makes sure there is a clear and safe passage for gases caused by the burning process, which are combustible, making the risk of the chimney catching fire less. Sweeping will also mean that objects such as nests, cobwebs and loose brickwork, which could obstruct the chimney, are also removed.

Derbyshire County Council’s Trusted Trader Scheme has a list of chimney sweeps at http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/community/trusted_trader/