What are the benefits of having a chimney surveyed?

With winter fast approaching, now is the right time to make sure that your chimney is in good working order before you try and use it.

The most important aspect of chimney maintenance is to ensure that it is regularly swept.  This is particularly important at the end of summer when the flue hasn’t been used.  A professional sweep will ensure that any residue from the previous winter, plus any debris, cobwebs and materials dropped by nesting birds are cleared away.

If the chimney sweep has any concerns about blockages in the flue, the amount of debris found whilst sweeping or materials coming away from the side of the flue, he or she will recommend that you have a chimney survey.

If you are planning to reuse a chimney that has been redundant for a long period of time then as well as getting it swept, it would also be beneficial to have it professionally surveyed.

What are the benefits of having your chimney surveyed? Most importantly, it will give an indication of the safety of your chimney.

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 flue is a hidden part of your property which can pose various risks to your safety.

A chimney survey can give you a detailed understanding of the condition 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 the flue
  • To plot the course of a flue in an older property
  • To provide evidence to Insurance Companies on the condition of the flue

The equipment that we use

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.

What we are looking for

We have seen lots of things on CCTV footage of flues.  Birds’ nests and cobwebs are the obvious things but here are a few 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

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.”

How do I prepare for a chimney survey?

All of the Turner Baker Chimney Technicians are trained to use CCTV equipment.  The camera is battery operated so doesn’t require access to a power point.

Prior to any chimney survey the flue should be swept to remove any debris and expose the surface of the flue.  The area around the fireplace should be cleared to give the Technicians space to work. They will use protective materials to ensure that any dust or debris that may be dislodged during the survey can be cleared away.

Other surveys available

A CCTV survey will give detailed information on the condition of the inside of your flue.  What it won’t tell you is how well your flue works.  To establish this, there are two different smoke tests available.

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. This is the test that most chimney sweeps will offer to undertake.

A Static smoke test – checks the integrity flue.  When an appliance is used or a fire is lit, does smoke leak from the flue into other areas of the property.

Turner Baker regularly carry out both CCTV surveys and smoke tests in all kinds of different properties, both residential and commercial.

If you would like more information please go to our website www.turnerbaker.co.uk or contact Turner Baker on 01432 839123


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