The Warning Signs That It’s Time for Chimney Repair Bristol

Chimney Problems and The Warning Signs That You Need Your Chimney Repaired

A chimney is an integral feature of most properties, particularly older ones.  In years gone by, the chimney was one of the most important parts of a property because it facilitated the generation of heat for warmth and cooking. Nowadays, chimneys in the UK are mostly used for wood-burning or gas stoves or open fires as backup heat in the winter months and to provide a welcoming ambience in a room. Also, in many properties they are left unused, or taken down if no longer used.  A chimney, as part of a property has to be maintained and looked after correctly whether it is being used or not. Here at Turner Baker, we have over 25 years in chimney repair Bristol and flue liner installation. If you’re interested in a chimney survey to evaluate the state of your chimney, please call us on 01173 360470.

Chimney Health

Keeping your chimney in it’s best shape is important for the integrity of your home. If your chimney were to be damaged by a fire. blockages or general wearing, there are a number of major issues that could spread throughout your property. To prevent these issues occuring, we recommend that, if your chimney is being used with a stove or open fire with the following fuel types, you should have it swept following these guidelines:

  • Smokeless fuel – At least once a year
  • Wood – Quarterly when in use
  • Bituminous coal – Quarterly when in use
  • Oil – Once a year
  • Gas – Once a year

Chimneys and flues can deteriorate or get damaged over time just like any other part of your property.  Below are some signs that your chimney needs repairing.

When you light your fire or stove, you can smell smoke in adjoining rooms

If you can smell smoke in other rooms when your fire is lit, it is likely that your flue, which is the pipe running up inside the chimney, is leaking.  It is important to remember that the inside of your chimney is liable to degrade with age and use in much the same way as the external structure does. The main solution to protecting the internal structure of your chimney or flue and to ensure that it is safe to use is to have it professionally lined.

You’ve had a chimney fire

Some people have a chimney fire in their property and know nothing about it at all.  Slow burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or fuel to be dramatic or visible but they can still cause substantial damage. Temperatures can reach 1,100 degrees Celsius during a chimney fire.  The effect of this is that heat is radiated through walls and any sparks could ignite flammable materials, such as wooden beams, that may be nearby. Even if you can’t see any damage on the chimney breast, it is highly likely that damage will have occurred inside the chimney following a chimney fire.  If you have a stainless steel flue liner in your chimney, the liner will need to be replaced as the crystalline structure of the steel changes and it will corrode very quickly if you continue to try and use it. Stainless steel is also prone to buckling and changing shape when exposed to very high temperatures. Other liners such as a concrete, pumice or Furanflex liner would need to be thoroughly checked with a CCTV inspection carried out by a professional before being used again following a chimney fire.

You have bits of masonry falling into the fireplace

Where a chimney is constructed from brick, the bricks may degrade and crumble over time and it is likely that the mortar in between the bricks will degrade as well.  Any sign of degradation of the internal brickwork means that the chimney will have to be lined. This is because the flue may leak smoke into another room in the property.  Also, smoke will travel most efficiently through a smooth flue, so to get the best performance from your open fire or multi fuel stove or wood burner the smoke needs to exit via the flue as quickly and smoothly as possible. Any lumps and bumps caused by the uneven bricks on the way up through the flue will slow down the flow of the smoke; the smoke will cool and leave deposits on the side of the flue.  This is not good. A build up will quickly occur and increase the risk of a chimney fire.

Smoke billows down into the room instead of being drawn up into the flue

There could be a blockage in the chimney.  The first thing to do is to get the chimney swept by a Guild of Master Sweeps or NACS accredited chimney sweep.  Chimneys need to allow the free passage of hot flue gasses containing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere at a higher elevation.  Regular sweeping will remove soot, birds’ nests, cobwebs and any other blockages,  which will help to prevent chimney fires.

Any blockage in a gas flue could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.  Whilst gas flues are often smaller and do not attract the attention of birds for example, it is not unusual for something as small as a spiders web to cause a significant blockage. It is therefore important that gas flues are swept at least once a year.

Structural damage to the chimney stack

Smoke contains acidic compounds which, when deposited onto the masonry of the flue, can attack the mortar and masonry weakening the structure of the whole chimney.

This, combined with water penetration from the weather and fracturing from frosts, can leave a chimney stack in a very unstable state. The result could be either damage to the faces of some of the brickwork, the loosening of a few bricks, or the collapse of the entire chimney stack.

Additionally, it is important to remember that the inside of your chimney is liable to degrade with age and use in much the same way as the external structure does.  If your chimney and flue is very old and has been used to burn coal in the past it may also have issues with salt deposits, which continue to wear away at the brickwork long after being deposited.

More information on different types of chimney problem can be found here

Chimney repair Bristol

Chimney Repair Bristol Solutions for Common Problems

The main solution to protecting the internal structure of your chimney or flue and to ensure that it is safe to use is to have it professionally lined.

A flue liner is, in simple terms a tube that fits down inside an existing chimney or even an existing flue in an older property.  Flue liners are available in many different materials including stainless steel, pumice, silica polymer and thermosetting resin.

Flue liners are obligatory for new build properties in accordance with building regulations Document J.  This means that if you are building a new property with a chimney that you intend to use for heating purposes then it must be suitably lined.

Here at Turner Baker, we are fully qualified to install a variety of different flue limers. These include:

Please call Turner Baker Ltd on 01432 839123 if you are interested in any of these lining products or would like to inquire about our chimney repair Bristol services, and we will be happy to advise you on the system that is right for you.

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