Chimney Inspection in the Oxford area

Turner Baker discuss the benefits of having your chimney surveyed

Chimney InspectionOxfordWith winter coming up, now is the best time to make sure that your chimney is in good working order before you use it.

The most important reason for chimney maintenance is to ensure that it is frequently swept.  This is very important towards the end of summer when the flue hasn’t been used.  A professional sweep will make sure any residue from the previous winter, plus any debris, cobwebs and materials dropped by nesting birds are cleaned out.

If the chimney sweep identifies concerns about blockages in the flue, the amount of debris found whilst cleaning or materials coming away from the side of the flue, he or she will recommend that you book for a chimney inspection in Oxford.

If you are thinking of reusing a chimney that has been redundant for a long period of time then as well as getting it swept, it is also important to have it professionally surveyed.

So, what are the benefits of a comprehensive chimney inspection in Oxford? Above all else, it will give an indication of the safety of your chimney.

When you start using your wood burner, gas appliance, boiler or open fire you want to do so in the knowledge that all fumes produced will escape safely up the chimney flue – minimising any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or a chimney fire.

A flue is a hidden part of your property that if poorly maintained, can pose various risks to your safety.

Chimney inspection in Oxford – The process

A chimney survey can give you a comprehensive understanding of the condition and quality of your chimney and is very useful in the following scenarios:

  • For older properties when looking at reinstating a flue that hasn’t been used for prolonged periods
  • When buying a new property to inspect all chimney flues are safe to use in their current condition
  • After a chimney fire to identify if there has been extensive damage to the flue
  • To plot the course of a flue in an old building
  • To provide physical proof to Insurance Companies on the condition of the flue

The chimney survey equipment that we use

A chimney CCTV survey uses state of the art camera technology to review and record the inside of a chimney flue. A small, robust miniature chimney camera with strong lights is placed through the flue on support rods.  The chimney inspection camera passes through the entire flue and the footage that is captured can be used to identify any hazards or damage.

Things to look out for during a chimney inspection

Chimney CCTV footage of flues have revealed many things in the past. Birds’ nests and cobwebs are just a few things found, but here are a few that you might not have considered:

  • Loose or damaged masonry and mortar joints
  • Timber lintels that have become lodged into the brickwork
  • A small ledge or cubby hole
  • RSJs or steels
  • Spit mechanisms used when roasting over a fire

Our chimney expert, Edward Turner says “Turner Baker carry out a lot of chimney CCTV surveys.  The things that we are looking to find out are – is the flue lined or part lined; what the condition of the flue is like – are there are any loose mortar joints that might leak smoke or dangerous fumes into another part of the property?  Are there are any blockages, such as birds nest or loose masonry. The older the property, often the more interesting the finds.”

What needs preparing for a chimney inspection in Oxford?

The experienced team of Turner Baker Chimney Technicians are trained to use chimney CCTV equipment.  The chimney camera used is battery operated and doesn’t require access to a power point.

Before conducting the chimney survey the chimney flue should be swept to remove any debris and expose the surface of the flue. It’s important to clear space around the fire place to allow technicians ample space to work. They will use protective coverings to ensure that all dust or debris that may be dislodged during the survey can be easily cleared away.

Other types of chimney surveys

By conducting a chimney camera survey, we can gather detailed information on the condition of the inside of your flue. Unfortunately, it cannot tell us how effectively your flue operates. To establish this, we can carry out two different smoke tests.

Dynamic smoke test – checks the ‘draw’ of your open fire or heating appliance.  In other words, if a fire is lit, a dynamic smoke test is designed to determine how efficiently smoke leaves the chimney flue or if it begins filling the room with smoke. This is the test is quite common and can be carried out by most chimney sweeps.

Static smoke test – checks the strength of the flue.  When an appliance is used or a fire is lit, do you often see smoke leaking into other areas of the property?

The team at Turner Baker regularly carry out both chimney CCTV surveys and smoke tests for a range of residential and commercial properties.

For information and advice on chimney surveys or to book a chimney inspection in the Oxford area, contact the Turner Baker team today on 01865 236763.

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