Archive for the ‘Useful Tips’ Category

These images of a pile of soot is the result I achieved by spending the required time necessary to make sure the householder and her very young family in Tyrrellspass will be safe going forward. This chimney was supposed to have been cleaned 18 months ago by an unscrupulous untrained chimney sweep. These images do not show the full extent of the amount of soot removed. The deposit definitely resembled that of a chimney not cleaned in 5 years.
Be wary of chimney sweeps who are in and out in 15 or 20 minutes.
Don’t be afraid to stand and watch the full procedure. Ask questions. Make sure you see the brush head at chimney pot, when clean is being performed from the bottom up.
Ask for a smoke test.



An open fire can burn at 10k/w with a 20% efficiency – meaning 8k/w of heat energy is keeping the 8″ clay liner chimney warm and keeping the flue gases rising. In comparison a modern 5k/w multi-fuel stove such as the Precision 1 is 84.3% efficient meaning only losing 785 watts (0.785k/w) to the chimney, this is not enough heat to keep flue gases rising in a cold masonary chimney or a cold 8″ clay lined chimney. This is only one of the Many reasons why we want to re-line a chimney with a smaller diametre flexible liner and back fill this with Vermiculite insulation.

Ireland is getting so much varied weather in the last two/three years householders do not realise the amount of unseen damage that is being created and from my experience they are not being told by their regular chimney sweeps . Just yesterday I answered a call from a man who was having a very serious leakage of cresote/tar from a very poorly positioned soot door. He told me that he had his chimney cleaned regularly by a local untrained sweep, who came in , spent just minutes in the house , semed to push some rods and brush up the flue, collected his money and left. What I discovered  was an incredible amount of caked tar in the sump, which must be accumulating for years, and it was so bad the inner section of the soot door had to be beaten into place with a hammer by the previous chimney sweep. Why he did not bring this hazardous situation to the notice of the householder is beyond me, but maybe its not beyond me , as I see similiar problems in lots of houses I work in where an untraind chimney sweep has been earning his crust for years. I am often outspoken about too much regulation, however when there is no regulation at all , especially where peoples lives are at risk that is a differet matter and needs to be addresssed.

Yeah we all are aware that Peat or more commonly known in Ireland as Turf, is a highly popular type of fuel used in Ireland. Why? Well it is available to most people living in the countryside by simply visiting your local bog . Its harvested in abundance with the latest technology and is relatively cheap. What used to be a back breaking exercise for turf cutters and their wives and kids , is now a pleasant couple of days spent on the bog, inhaling natures fresh air, mingling with the townie folk and generally having a ball, assuming the weather remains favourable for the process.
The downside of Turf as a fuel is that it contains excessive levels of moisture, and we all are aware of the consequences of burning high moisture content fuels. The formation and build up of Tar and Cresote in stoves/ cookers, flues and liners causes multiple problems with clogging and blocking of the natural airflow which is so necessary, not to mention the highly combustible nature of this God forsaken deposit. We aim to have our fuel moisture content at a very max 20% with an ideal level of 15% being our benchmark. 2011 turf is now measureing 38 to 40% which is in excess of double the preferred limit and think about it this type of turf is nearly half water, so definitely dont buy it by weight. Having tested 3 year old turf being stored in an open type shed we recorded 15% which goes to prove that last seasons turf is a NONO .

Over the next couple of weeks I will be placing relevant information on facebook  regarding problems I have been called out to address, regarding smoking problems, poor draw, poor performance and the consequences of the use of incorrect fuels. Feel free to bring up any of these issues , should you be experiencing similiar problems.