What causes a chimney fire?
As smoke leaves your fire through the colder chimney, condensation occurs, causing carbon and dust residues to stick to the inside of the chimney. These residues form a highly-combustible substance called creosote. Without regular cleaning this buildup of creosote will become sufficient to catch fire from sparks or flames from the fire below – a chimney fire.
How can I prevent chimney fires?
The only way to prevent chimney fires is by regular cleaning. The National Safety Council and local fire services all recommend that chimneys be swept thoroughly at least twice a year for coal, wood or turf burning fires and once a year for gas or oil-fired appliances (if designed for sweeping).
Fires that are lit very often, or that use a variety of fuels or very tarry fuels, may need to be swept more frequently.
Don’t burn household rubbish, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, Christmas trees, etc. in your fireplace. These cause sparks that are more likely to ignite the chimney.
Use only wood and turf that have dried out thoroughly. This will reduce the amounts of tarry deposits produced in burning.
What should I do if I have a chimney fire?
What will it cost me?
From January 2012 Limerick Fire Brigade charge house owners for callouts to domestic chimney fires. The charge is €500 for the first hour or part thereof and €450 per fire tender for each successive hour.
Our charge to sweep a normal domestic chimney is just €50. Ask for our special offer for internet customers.
When should I clean my chimney?
Assuming you use your fire mostly in the winter, the best time to have your chimney swept is once at the beginning of winter (September to November) and again in the middle of the time of peak usage (Jan/Feb/March).
Do be sure to call us before lighting a fire in a chimney that hasn’t been used in a long while, or if you don’t know when it was last swept (for example, a new house).