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fireba400With winter getting closer, more and more households on the Isle of Wight are beginning to use home fires. With this in mind, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is advising residents that now is the time to get your chimney cleaned.

When a chimney is not in use during large parts of the year, it can become blocked with items such as bird nests, cobwebs or loose bricks. All of these can increase the risk of harmful gasses such as carbon monoxide not being able to travel safely out of the flue.

Justin Harden, the IWFRS community risk manager, said:

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“It is important to remember that all fuels contain carbon, such as gas, wood, charcoal, coal and smokeless fuel.

“Care should be taken with all chimneys to ensure they are safe to use. By sweeping the chimney it ensures gasses can leave the flue safely. It also lessens the chances of a chimney catching fire. There were 42 call outs for the fire service for chimney fires in 2013 on the Island and we want to reduce that number.”

The cleaning of chimneys should always be undertaken by a professional chimney sweeping company.

If you use a specific type of fuel in your home fire, the fire service has guidelines on how often you should sweep your chimney, although these should be discussed and clarified with your chimney sweep or installer if you are planning on fitting a new system.

The guidelines are:

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  • 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

More information on safety in the home can be found at

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