Regardless of how often you use your fire your chimney should be swept once a year (minimum). Deposits can build up in your chimney and harden over time which can make them harder to remove further down the line. If you do not use your fire often then combustible and dry material can enter your chimney too which can add to the risk of chimney fires.
Build-up of carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a by product of burning fuels like gas, wood, oil or coal. Known as ‘the silent killer’, carbon monoxide is odourless and tasteless and can occur through badly installed or maintained gas fires or chimneys, flues or vents that are not properly cleaned. Symptoms mimic that of flu but can worsen to lead to paralysis, unconsciousness and ultimately death. Best get that chimney swept.
Build up of tar and residual material in a chimney poses a high risk of fire in your chimney stack as can extraneous material like bird’s nests. Once ignited a chimney fire can burn for a long time at a high temperature. This can cause damage by expelling burning material from the chimney top which can ignite other parts of the building or even other buildings in the area. Generated heat from a chimney fire can also cause structural damage to the building and chimney breast too. Let’s not get started on the danger of what could happen if your property is thatched…
It may be a condition of your house insurance that your chimney is swept at least once per year or more (especially if you live in a thatched property. Consider what might happen should damage occur due to a chimney fire and you did not properly maintain the chimney. Your claim could be affected.