DIY DISASTERS: Why You Should Leave Chimney Sweeping and Fireplace Installation To The Professionals…

DIY is set to skyrocket in the next few months as more people spend time at home.

But there’s some jobs you really should leave to the experts.

Among them are fitting your own solid fuel woodburner/open fire or sweeping your chimney.

Why? Well put simply they both are highly skilled trades which take years to master.

Done incorrectly, they have the capacity to cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning or chimney/house fires.

Now, I’ve met plenty of DIYers and many will happily argue that there’s nothing difficult about any of these.

‘Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?’ is the usual response, somehow implying that I’m trying to make it more complex than it actually is.

The plain fact is that you don’t know what you don’t know.

Just because I brush my teeth daily doesn’t mean to say that I wouldn’t visit the dentist for a regular check up or a having a new filling.

The same principles of leaving it to the experts apply to solid fuel installation and flue maintenance…

Here’s some of the typical pitfalls people who think they know what they’re doing end up in:

Stove/Fireplace Installation:

⁃ Failure to adequately clean and inspect any current flueway before installation

⁃ Dangerous working practices

⁃ Insufficient PPE

⁃ Incorrect connection to the chimney

⁃ Incorrect terminals

⁃ Lack of adequate ventilation

⁃ Unsuitable appliance sizing

⁃ Unsuitable materials used

⁃ Failure to adhere/understand safe distances to combustibles

– Lack of buildings regs sign off/potentially voiding your home/personal insurances

Chimney Sweeping:

⁃ Incorrect equipment

⁃ Dangerous working practices

⁃ Insufficient PPE

⁃ Failure to sweep the flue properly

⁃ Unable to interpret results of debris fall

⁃ Failure to pick up on faults/failures due to lack of experience

⁃ Causing damage to your flue and/or property

⁃ Inadequate servicing of the appliance

– Potentially voiding warranties/home insurances

The best way to avoid these pitfalls is get a trusted, solid fuel registered professional in to do the job. Look out for specific trade accreditations or registrations which are directly relevant to the solid fuel industry, such as fireplace/stove installing or chimney sweeping.

For instance, I’m a registered member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, as well as being a HETAS approved sweep and a registered OFTEC solid fuel technician. There are other bodies/qualifications which cover the solid fuel industry, so please do check.

There are certain things you can do to ensure your appliance is kept working as well as possible, such as regular de-ashing, replacing cracked bricks and so on.

But when it comes to the big jobs involving flueways and connecting to them – which help keep you and your family safe- please leave it to the professionals…

Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a HETAS Approved Sweep, and member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, offering a professional and friendly chimney sweep and stove service. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.

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