Open fires and chimneys

  • Have the chimney swept before lighting the first fire of winter

  • Don't allow soot or ash to build up

  • Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure it is sound and that sparks or fumes can't escape through cracks or broken bricks

  • Use a fireguard

  • Don't overload the grate or build fires too high; let fires burn down well before going to bed; and check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for sparks or embers

  • Burn the recommended fuels only, look for the 'Ready to burn' logo when buying small bags of firewood and solid fuel briquettes - see guidance frequencies below

Regular maintenance requirements of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn

  • Smokeless coals: at least once a year

  • Wood: up to four times a year

  • Bituminous coal: twice a year

  • Oil: once a year

  • Gas: once a year