Flue and Flue Liner Maintenance
Why Flue System Cleaning is Necessary
Wood smoke can condense inside the flue and flue system, forming a combustible deposit called
creosote. If creosote is allowed to build up in the flue system, it can ignite when a hot fire is burned
in the wood inbuilt and a very hot fire can progress to the top of the flue system. Severe flue
system fires can damage even the best flue systems. Smouldering, smoky fires can quickly cause
a thick layer of creosote to form. When you avoid smouldering so the exhaust from the flue system
is mostly clear, creosote builds up more slowly. Your new wood inbuilt has the right characteristics
to help you to burn clean fires with little or no smoke, resulting in less creosote in the flue system.
How Often Should You Clean the Flue System?
It is not possible to predict how much or how quickly creosote will form in your flue system. It is
important, therefore, to check the build-up in your flue system monthly when getting used to the
new wood inbuilt until you determine the rate of creosote formation. Even if creosote forms slowly
in your system, the flue system should be cleaned and inspected at least once each year.
Cleaning the Flue System
Flue system cleaning can be a difficult and dangerous job. If you don’t have experience cleaning
flue systems, you might want to hire a professional flue system sweep to clean and inspect the
system for the first time. After having seen the cleaning process, you can decide if it is a job you
would like to take on.
The most common equipment used are fiberglass rods with threaded fittings and stiff plastic
brushes. The brush is forced up and down inside the flue system to scrub off the creosote. The flue
system should be checked regularly for creosote build-up.
Flue System Fire
Regular flue system maintenance and inspection can prevent flue system fires. If you have a flue
system fire, follow these steps:
1. Close the zero clearance wood inbuilt door;
2. Alert your family of the possible danger;
3. If you require assistance, alert your fire department;
4. If possible, use a dry chemical fire extinguisher like baking soda or sand, to control the fire. Do
not use water as it may cause a dangerous steam explosion;
5. Check outside to ensure that sparks and hot embers coming out of the flue are not igniting the
6. Do not use the zero clearance wood inbuilt again until your flue system and zero clearance
wood inbuilt have been inspected by a qualified flue system sweep or a Fire Department
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