Carbon Monoxide Gas.
Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer.
A gas that has no smell, no taste, and breathing in carbon monoxide can make you unwell or even kill if exposed to high levels.
In the UK, more than 200 people per year are admitted to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths.
Carbon Monoxide is produced when solid fuel such as wood or coal are burnt.
Poorly maintained chimneys, wood, coal and gas burning appliances are the most common causes of accidental exposure.
If a chimney or flue is becoming blocked, there is a reduction of the chimneys efficiency, and gradually over time as soot and creosote deposits build up within the flue,( just as with a bloked artery), the amount of hot gases created is too great for the diameter of the flue.
This leads to smoke and invisible gases returning into the room.
Creosote and Chimney Fires
job of the chimney sweep is to remove soot, blockages and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper.
This cleaning helps to create a safer and more efficient heating system.
It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire.
Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. The rate of accumulation can be higher if you practice poor burning practices or have a burning appliance or stove that is not working well.
Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.
Do you think you may have a birds nest in your chimney?
A Jackdoor nest in your chimney is a major health risk, causing a complete obstruction to the airway and therefore a major carbon monoxide and fire hazard.
The way the Jackdaw builds its nest is by dropping or pushing twigs down the chimney.
If the chimney is small enough they will bend the twig in the middle as they push it down the flue. When they release it, it may wedge itself in place. If not it catch further down the chimney or will fall to the bottom of the flue. Irrespective of if it sticks in place or falls another twig is added and so on. Quite often the twigs will fall to the bend in the chimney, which is common to most chimneys, which is about two thirds of the way up.
If you think there may be a birds nest in your chimney, there are a few things you can look out for.
If you start to find twigs and other debris in your fire grate then there is a strong possibility that nesting activity is taking place.
Take a few minutes to keep a watch on your chimney pot. You will see the birds flying back and forth dropping or pushing material into the chimney pot.
If you normally hear pigeons cooing or traffic noise and then it stops and all is silent there may be an obstruction in the flue.
Do not try to light a fire and “burn the nest out”. You run the risk of setting the chimney on fire or filling the whole house with smoke. If it is in the early stages then get a chimney sweep in immediately you suspect nesting is taking place. If you leave it to the middle of March it will be too late as it is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to destroy or remove a nest while it is in use. You will have to wait until the end of July and then I will remove the nest.
This is a very physical and time consuming job. I will remove all loose material at the bottom of the flue before breaking the nest up up using a hard, small hard brush or a metal nest removal tool. Eventually i increase the size of the brush until the nest is completely removed.