These are my most asked questions.
HOW OFTEN DOES MY CHIMNEY NEED SWEEPING?
I recommend an annual sweep and inspection.
In some cases more frequent sweeping will be required for example thatched properties to fulfill insurance requirements or heavy users.
I will advise you on your Certificate of Sweeping when I recommend next sweeping your flue.
INSURANCE CLAIM REALITIES
At the moment it is not a legal requirement in the UK to have your chimney swept.
If you have a chimney fire or there is a fire in your property that is somehow caused by your fireplace, you may have difficulty making an insurance claim if you haven’t had your chimney swept. An insurance company will state that you have a duty of care when using a fireplace, stove or any kind of heating appliance, to take every precaution possible to ensure the it is used properly and safely.
I will issue you with a certificate confirming the sweep has taken place. The certificate will include the date of the sweep and any relevant feedback or comments about the sweep. You can use this certificate to demonstrate to your insurance company that you have taken appropriate precautions to ensure your chimney is safe to use and as long as you have the chimney swept regularly, this should satisfy them.
DO I NEED TO HAVE MY GAS / OIL FLUES SWEPT?
Yes. Although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot there are numerous other problems which can affect chimney function and sweeping can solve or identify these. In countries such as Germany, where sweeping all chimneys and flues is a legal requirement, the number of carbon monoxide poisonings and chimney fires are a fraction of the UK.
Aga recommend that oil appliances are swept annually.
Who is responsible for having the chimney swept in a rental property?
Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Landlord is legally responsible for ensuring the safety, working and servicing of all heating and hot water installations.
Although the wording can seem ambiguous, this also refers to open fires, Rayburn’s, Aga’s, coal and wood burning stoves. This responsibility includes all flues and ventilation, therefore under this Act, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to have all chimneys swept annually in a rental property.
We know many Landlords who believe that if the tenant uses the fire, they should be liable but unfortunately the landlord cannot contract out of this responsibility. Given that a chimney fire could potentially cause considerable damage to a property, it should give Landlord’s peace of mind to have the chimneys professionally swept.
Although most landlords / agents take their responsibilities seriously and maintain solid fuel systems appropriately. Tenants should ensure their landlord / letting agent has the chimney swept and inspected on a yearly basis for their own safety.