V.I.P’s Trevor Hutley shows what can happen if your chimney is blocked.
V.I.P’s Trevor Hutley shows what can happen if your chimney is blocked. Jenna Cairney

Clean sweep the key to safety

CHIM chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo, be smart this winter and clean out your flue.

As temperatures plummet, Warwick-ites will be looking to crank up wood heaters and open fires.

However, local chimney sweeps from V.I.P warn residents to make sure their chimneys are clear to avoid the risk of house fires.

Trevor Hutley and Ross Murphy said winter business was picking up for them and it was the perfect time of year for householders to clear out any blockages.

“Some get their chimney done at the end of winter,” Mr Hutley said.

“But I suggest they do it at the beginning of winter as there can be birds nests after summer or other issues.”

Ideally a chimney should be inspected every 12 months.

Burning timber leads to a build-up of creosote from the gasses released by the wood.

It’s a sticky corrosive substance that builds up in the chimney. Burning green timber can make it build up more quickly so always make sure your wood is fully treated.

“If you have a blocked chimney usually you will get smoke coming out of the fireplace,” Mr Hutley said.

“If it blocks it can cause a fire in the chimney, which can ultimately burn down the house.”

He said even if it is only half blocked and there’s still air flow, that air can give oxygen to the chimney fire.

“One of my colleagues had a client the other day who lit his fire and in the night got up and notice his flue was glowing because of blockage.”

The experts start by removing a plate, which sits at the top of the fireplace and cleaning it. Then they climb up on the roof to broom the chimney.

See pages 16 and 17 for our fire safety feature.

Fire tips

  • Have your chimney inspected every 12 months
  • Don’t burn green timber
  • Make sure smoke alarms work


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