How Often Do I Need To Clean My Chimney?

Do I need to clean my chimney? Cork chimney sweepToday we had a visit from Declan O’Donoghue of Cork Chimney Sweep. Declan called in and met the Boru team and received a detailed walk-through of all our stoves. This ensures that Declan can offer the best possible service and advice to his customers. We asked him, ‘How Often Do I Need To Clean My Chimney?’ Declan is a Professional Certified And Registered chimney sweep working in Cork and he answered this and many other chimney sweeping related questions we had for him. Read our blog below to find out all about keeping your chimney clean.

How often should I get my chimney cleaned?

You should get your chimney cleaned at least once a year. If you are using a stove I would recommend cleaning the flue twice a year. Stoves usually have a smaller flue than traditional open fires. This means creosote can build up faster and needs to be cleaned more regularly.

What is Creosote?

Creosote is usually the cause of a chimney fire. It is a by-product left over when burning fossil fuels like wood, peat or coal. As the smoke rises in the chimney it begins to cool and deposits this carbon rich residue on the inside of the chimney. If the air flow to the fire is restricted, like when closing the vents on a stove, this can cause a greater build-up of creosote. As this then builds up on the chimney the problem is compounded. Not as much air is being drawn through the stove to fully burn the fuel.

So a dirty chimney can affect the performance of my stove?

Yes, without a doubt. As the creosote builds up, this reduces the draft in the chimney, meaning less oxygen getting to the firebox. Less oxygen means the fire will not burn as hot or as efficient and thereby causing greater creosote build-up.

I haven’t cleaned my chimney in years and I’ve never had a problem. Why should I worry now?

A chimney fire can happen at any time, regularly cleaning your chimney can help reduce and prevent a chimney fire. Creosote burns at a very high temperature. In many cases heat and sparks from the chimney cause the fire to spread to roofs and surrounding buildings. A chimney fire is difficult to extinguish, and the call out for the fire brigade to a chimney fire is €700. In many countries EU regulations are in place obliging homeowners to have a professional sweep the chimney annually.

Do I need to clean my chimney by law?

Most EU countries already have in place regulations that require home owners to have their chimneys cleaned by a professional at least once a year. These regulations will very soon be enacted in Ireland as the act of chimney sweeping is deemed a public safety service.

I always clean my chimney myself, why should I get the services of a professional?

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, around 40 people a year die in Ireland due to carbon monoxide poisoning. We provide a full inspection of your chimney and flue using CCTV. This helps us identify and then repair any problems we might find. This CCTV inspection should be performed by a professional at least once a year, and everyone should be using a carbon monoxide alarm. Stoves will often have tight angles in their flue setup and traditional sweeping kits are not a safe or effective means of cleaning. We use the latest equipment to make sure we don’t do any damage to the chimney flue or stove during our work.

Declan can be found at Or email