A flue is a hidden part of a property which can pose various safety risks. There are many benefits to commissioning a chimney survey – most importantly, it will give an indication of the safety of your chimney or flue.
When you use your open fire, wood burner, gas appliance or boiler you want to do so safe in the knowledge that any fumes produced can escape up the flue without any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or a chimney fire.
A chimney survey can give you a detailed understanding of the condition of the flue and is very useful in the following scenarios:
- In older properties when looking at reinstating a flue that hasn’t been used for a long time
- When purchasing a new property to check if flues are safe to use in their existing condition
- Following a chimney fire to find out if there has been any damage to a flue
- To plot the course of a flue in an older property
- To provide evidence to Insurance Companies on the condition of a flue
Turner Baker Ltd are able to undertake full CCTV surveys, Smoke Tests, Flue Mapping using GPR technology and Drone inspections to give detailed information on the condition of flues and chimney stacks.
A CCTV survey uses modern camera technology to review and record exactly what the inside of a flue looks like. A small, robust miniature CCTV camera with powerful lights is passed through the flue on support rods. It is passed through the entire length of the flue and the footage that is captured can be used to identify any potential hazards.
All of the Chimney Technicians at Turner Baker are trained to carry out CCTV inspections. Inspections can be followed up with a comprehensive written report and a digital recording of the inspection is supplied. If during the inspection a flue is identified as unsafe to use, recommendations for any remedial work required will also be included in the report.
Smoke testing can be performed in two different ways.
A Dynamic smoke test – checks the draw of an appliance or open fire. In other words, when the fire is lit, a dynamic smoke test is designed to establish if the smoke escapes up the flue efficiently or if it fills the room with smoke.
A Static smoke test – checks the integrity of a flue. When an appliance is used or a fire is lit, a static smoke test will ascertain if smoke leaks from the flue into other areas of the property.
Flue Mapping using GPR technology
Flues don’t always run in a straight line, particularly in older properties. When building works are being carried out, it is often useful to establish where a flue runs from the fireplace up through a property. Turner Baker carry out non-invasive surveys using the latest GPR technology to establish the exact course of a flue. Using the data from this survey the route of the flue can be mapped, allowing any future work that might have an impact on the flue to be carefully planned. Read more about our GPR surveys here.
Aerial Drone Inspections
Turner Baker Ltd are able to arrange for an aerial drone inspection of an external chimney stack to be carried out where access by ladders is otherwise restricted. This allows for a visual inspection of the structure of the chimney stack and the position of the flues at the head to be undertaken.
What are we looking for in a CCTV flue survey?
We have seen lots of things on CCTV footage of flues. Birds’ nests and cobwebs feature quite regularly but here are a few things that you might not have thought about:
- Loose masonry and mortar joints
- Timber lintels lodged into the brickwork
- A ledge or cubby hole
- RSJs or steels
- Spit mechanisms for roasting over a fire
- Cables or water pipes
Edward Turner, our chimney expert says “Turner Baker carry out a lot of 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, as flues may have been redesigned or repurposed over the years.”
Please contact Turner Baker Ltd on (01432) 839123 if you would like to find out more about the benefits of chimney surveys.