Chimneys can contribute to the significance and character of an individual house or group of houses. A Scheme of Management licence is needed if you want to remove or alter a chimney but removal of architecturally significant chimneys is not permitted.

Chimneys are very exposed to wind and rain and are prone to water penetration. Ventilated caps or cowels, fitted to your chimney pots made of clay, metal or plastic, will prevent water ingress but allow ventilation. You should choose a cowel that looks in keeping with your house. A chimney for an open fire will cause significant draughts when it is not in use. A damper can be professionally installed to remedy this, or you could consider fitting a draught excluder.

If you have concerns about the structural integrity or water-tightness of your chimney, a structural engineer, surveyor or architect should be consulted. It may be possible to re-use an old chimney for solid fuel, oil or gas fires or wood burners, depending on the nature and condition of the chimney. Many chimneys need to be re-lined to meet the current Building Regulations. Ensure that you use a registered qualified installer.

Roof cowels on your chimney pots can reduce water getting into your chimney, prevent nesting birds

Install a draught excluder, chimney umbrella or a flue balloon, available in various sizes. Take care not to block the base of the flue completely, a tube can be trapped at the edge to create airflow. Ensure you remove any installation before using the fireplace. An alternative is a permanent damper fitted by a specialist