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Preparing your chimney (and what to do if you don’t have one)

Preparing your chimney (and what to do if you don’t have one)

January 21st at 12:00am

You’ve found the perfect new fire for your property, you’re happy to part with your money to secure the purchase, and you’re already looking forward to the day it’s installed.

But, is there anything you should do prior to installation to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible? If you have a traditional chimney, the answer is yes.

A chimney interior without a liner

This shot was taken from a Grate Expectations lining project where we brought the fireplaces of a London Grade II townhouse back to life

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Do I need my chimney swept?

At GrateExpectations, we encourage our customers to have their chimney swept before having a new fire installed. Sweeping your chimney has numerous benefits, but perhaps the most important is that it ensures your chimney is cleared of all blockages.

Blockages in your chimney are a serious matter. If the fumes from a fire can’t escape, they will build up inside your property. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning; which is potentially fatal to humans and pets. Separate to this, a blocked chimney can also cause a fire within the flue due to the fumes and heat not being able to escape via the intended route. The fire, without an exit route, can then spread to other parts of your property — causing serious damage.

Some of the obvious signs of a blocked chimney include fumes spilling back into your home (which can be smelt, and sometimes seen), along with debris falling to the chimney base. However, blocked chimneys aren’t always obvious — especially if the blockage isn’t yet as large as it may become, so it’s always worth having your chimney swept to be sure it isn't obstructed.

Further to this, having your chimney swept will also help assess the condition of the flue and allow it to be tested. This is especially important if you’re thinking of installing a fireplace that may require a new flue lining; as it’s essential to assess the existing flue prior to carrying out any new work.

A typical chimney sweep

Chimneys should be swept prior to a new liner being installed and before the cold season, when they will be frequently used

Do I need to line my chimney?

Lining a chimney involves inserting a flue liner inside the chimney to keep it working as safely and efficiently as possible. A flue liner is like a channel, or tube, that helps transfer the heat outward, protect the masonry, and provide better efficiency. Flue liners can be made from a range of materials, including metal, ceramic, clay, and many more.

Lining the chimney is subject to the appliance you’re looking at purchasing, or the condition of your existing flue. If your existing flue has lost integrity due to erosion from wear and tear,  then a new liner is strongly recommended.

A lot of the appliances we sell today are room sealed or partially room sealed high efficiency gas fires or wood burning stoves. Nine out of ten times these are installed with flue liners.

However, for some open fire installations you can sweep and test the chimney to British standards before deciding whether you want to reline the flue. Do keep in mind however that the only way to guarantee a flue (and the safety of your property) is to reline it.

A typical chimney lining process

Learn more about our flue systems

I have not got a chimney, what are my options?

If you do not have an existing flue or chimney, don’t panic — there are plenty of options for you still.

We stock many balanced flue appliances. A balanced flue is where the flue can be installed via an outside wall, or up and out at roof level. (If you’re struggling to picture this, imagine the tube that carries away the fumes being directed out of your home through a purpose-built hole in a wall or roof).

If you’re not willing to have a balanced flue installed into your property, you can always opt for an electric fire instead. Because electric fires don’t produce any fumes, they don’t require a flue, which means they can be installed almost anywhere. Plus, there’s a broad range to choose from these days, so you can still end up with the fireplace of your dreams.

Outside of electric fires, bio-ethanol can be a good alternative in some cases, as these fires also do not require a flue. As they consume oxygen however, it’s advisable to ensure a good flow of fresh air into the room.

Two elegant electric fires

Faber e-Matrix 1300-400 Dru Virtuo 80/3

For our customers who don't have a chimney and choose to have a flue installed, here at Grate Expectations we also have a lot of experience building chimney housing around the flue and appliance.

The benefit of creating housing around the flue and appliance is that it helps to conceal the bits of the fire that property owners sometimes want to hide — like the pipework. Of course this is very much a design choice, as many customers enjoy the appearance of the flue in their homes; so ultimately it's up to you.

You can see an example of this from one of our previous projects below, where we used the PROMAFOUR® system. For more information, simply click the links.

The PROMAFOUR® system

Grate Expectations use the PROMAFOUR® system for chimney build installations on cassette and inset fireplaces, as well as wood-burning stoves.

Learn more about the PROMAFOUR® system Learn more about our flue systems

How can I buy a fireplace from Grate Expectations?

Start exploring your options here, then give us a ring on 020 8540 8387 to discuss how we can help.

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