Bedroom fireplaces are a very attractive addition to any period property.
What isn’t so attractive, however, is the dust and mortar which you can sometimes get in the fireplace grate.
Not only is it irritating, but it can also cause staining on nearby carpets and rugs.
What’s happening to cause this?
Put simply, your chimney is showing its age. A majority of bedroom fires are found in pre-1960s properties, and will therefore be connected to brick chimneys.
Over the years, old bits of brick and mortar dry out and fall down. Quite often, there is a 45 degree ledge at the back of the fireplace, and debris accumulates on it over the years.
At some point, the amount of debris will get to such high levels that it will simply start ‘spilling’ into the grate, and therefore into the room.
The issue always seems to get worse in summer, especially after a period of hot weather. A combination of the flue drying out, and the ‘draw’ of the flue reversing because of outside temperatures, always causes a spike from May-August time in the UK.
How can I ‘fix’ the problem?
The best way to proceed is it to get in a professional, registered chimney sweep to sweep the flue. This will help bring down any loose debris in a controlled way.
Once finished, you then need ensure that the opening to the flue is appropriately blocked off to stop any further dust etc falling down the chimney. Your sweep should be able to guide you on this.
It’s also important to look at how the disused flue will be ventilated. This could means getting a specific chimney pot/terminal to help ensure that the flue can ‘breathe’. Without this, it can produce unpleasant smells and cause issues with damp patches/condensation.
And of course, if the pot is open, birds can get into the flue. Once they start flapping around, they’ll push down even more debris!
It’s important to understand that having a ‘flaky’ chimney is perfectly normal and part and parcel of owning an older property. The flue will continue to deteriorate with age, as do all chimneys.
However, by following just a few simple steps and nipping it in the bud, you’ll be saving yourself quite a few headaches later on…
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 service. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.