This information refers mainly to Solid Fuel Appliances but all Heating Appliances need regular servicing to ensure efficient operation and to meet safety standards

Get your chimney swept at least once a year if you are burning solid fuel.

If you don’t one of these things will happen sooner or later:

The chimney gets choked with soot that smoke comes back into the room

The soot falls down into the room

The soot in the chimney starts to burn – setting the chimney alight

If you have a gas fire the chimney needs cleaning at least once every three years.

All heating appliances operate more reliably, efficiently and, most importantly, safely, if they are installed and serviced correctly.


Here are a few simple guidelines that will ensure safe and efficient operation.



Heating appliances, whatever fuel they burn, need to be able to ‘breathe’ in order to function efficiently and safely. To ‘breath’, they need a constant and sufficient flow of air, so the room must   not be completely airtight. If your home has draught-proofing or double-glazing fitted you may need vents or airbricks in an exterior wall of the room. If vents or airbricks are already there always ensure they are not blocked or covered.


Flue   Cleaning

To enable your appliance to ‘breathe’ efficiently do not allow soot or ash to build up where it can hinder or prevent the free exit of smoke and other products of combustion from your home.

Empty and check the ash can every day.

Flue-ways at the back of the boiler should be cleaned once a week, but always let the fire go out and allow ashes to cool before cleaning.

The throat(often called baffle)plates at the top of the room heater should be removed and cleaned monthly.

Have your chimney swept at least once every year; if you burn wood you may need to have a sweep twice a year.


Safety   Checklist

Ensure proper ventilation.

Regular cleaning and sweeping.

Always use the right fuel.

Never leave an open fire unattended without a fireguard.

Always use a securely fitted fireguard when children are in the house.



If your appliance begins to burn slowly, goes out frequently or if you smell or suspect fumes you must:

Open  doors and windows.

Carefully put out the fire, or allow it to burn itself out.

Do not stay in the room any longer than necessary.

Do not attempt to re-light the appliance until a professional has checked        it.


Carbon Monoxide


What is   it?

Carbon  monoxide is a flammable, colourless, odourless, tasteless toxic gas produced during incomplete combustion of fuel – natural gas, oil, coal, wood etc.

During normal combustion, each atom of carbon in the burning fuel joins with two atoms of oxygen – forming a harmless gas called carbon dioxide. When there is a lack of oxygen to ensure complete combustion of the fuel, each atom of carbon links up with only one atom of oxygen – forming carbon monoxide gas.

What is the danger to me?

Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and in our lungs,quickly passes into the bloodstream and attaches itself to haemoglobin (oxygen carrying pigment in red blood cells). Haemoglobin readily accepts carbon monoxide – even over the life-giving oxygen atoms (as much as 200   times as readily as oxygen) forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb).

By   replacing oxygen with carbon monoxide in our blood, our bodies poison themselves by cutting off the needed oxygen to our organs and cells, causing various amounts of damage – depending on exposure.

Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning (with COHb levels of 10%) result in symptoms commonly mistaken for common flu and cold symptoms – shortness of breath on mild exertion,mild headaches, and nausea.

With higher levels of poisoning the symptoms become more severe – dizziness, mental confusion, severe headaches, nausea.

At high levels there may be unconsciousness and death.

How does CO enter the home?

Carbon  monoxide can escape from any fuel-burning appliance, boiler, water heater, fireplace, woodstove, or space heater.

Most new homes are built very air-tight, thus cutting down on the supply of fresh air to your fire – and creating an oxygen-starved flame. Tight closing replacement windows and doors, as well as additional insulation can cause similar problems in older homes, even fitted carpets.

Carbon monoxide can spill from vent connections in poorly maintained or blocked chimneys. If the flue liner is cracked or deteriorated, CO can seep through the liner and into the house – slowly creeping up to dangerous levels. If a nest or other materials restrict or block the flue, CO will mostly spill back into the house.

Improperly sized flues connected to new high-efficiency boilers and water heaters can also contribute to CO spillage. (Many new boilers and water heaters are installed using the existing chimneys which may be the wrong size to allow the boiler to vent properly.)

Warming up vehicles in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can allow concentrated amounts of CO to enter your home through the door or near-by windows.


What can I do to ensure my family’s safety?

Have your chimney swept at least once every year.

Have your heating appliances serviced regularly.

Fit an audible Carbon Monoxide Alarm.


What to do in a CO emergency

If you are suffering from chronic flu-like symptoms, see your doctor and ask him if   it could be caused by low-level CO poisoning.

If you have a CO detector, and it alarms, open windows and ventilate your home with fresh air and have your heating system checked by a professional.

If your alarm sounds and you are feeling drowsy or dizzy, leave the house and call 999 from your   neighbour’s home. You may need medical attention for CO poisoning.


Book your Newton Abbot Chimney Sweep today.  Call ProSweep on 01626 832051 Now