Tips to avoid a chimney fire

Cheshire firefighters dealing with a chimney fire

Please make sure your chimney is clean before the colder winter months set in and you begin to use your fire and chimneys again.

Fires can start accidentally in your chimney. Soot and fuel residues slowly build up in chimneys over time and sometimes these leftovers can catch fire. If this happens, the chimney could send burning soot into your living room or start fires within the roof space or on other floors of the house. Even if it doesn’t burn the house down, a chimney fire can cause a huge mess.

You can help prevent this by having your chimney swept regularly.

Video - a guide to keeping your chimney clean

Transcript - a guide to keeping your chimney clean (new window, PDF 53KB)

Video - a guide to keeping your chimney clean (new window, Movie 11876KB)

Chimney safety tips

  • Clean your chimney and flue regularly 

  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape a house fire.

A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it's very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep (see below for a list of registered Chimney Sweeps).

How often should you clean your chimney?

  • Oil - Once a year

  • Gas - Once a year

  • Bituminous coal - Twice a year

  • Wood - Up to four times a year

  • Smokeless coals - At least once a year

Registered Chimney Sweeps

To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please visit one of the following websites:

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (opens in new window)

Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps (opens in new window)

The Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (opens in new window)

Most common causes of chimney fires

  • Infrequent sweeping and cleaning

  • Burning unseasoned wet wood

  • Improper appliance sizing

  • Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood stoves

How safe is your home?

Complete our online home safety check and you will get a personalised fire safety plan, which will offer advice on how to prevent fires in your home.

Do the online home safety check

Safe and well visit

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service offer a free 'Safe and Well Visit' for people who are aged over 65 and for people who are referred to us by partner agencies because they are considered to be at a particular risk.

Safe and Well Visits incorporate the traditional fire safety information (and smoke alarm fitting), but also offer additional advice on slips, trips, fall prevention and bowel cancer screening.

Book a Safe and Well Visit for over 65's

Last updated: Tuesday 10 March 2020

Related images

Cheshire firefighters dealing with a chimney fire