• Rogues Gallery

    Rogues Gallery

Over the 30 years I have been trading in this industry you come across something that makes you go “well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs”.  They vary in degrees from very serious to scratch your head in total disbelief. But what they all have in common is that they are dangerous or just detrimental to your property.

We all carry mobile phones now so capturing an image is relatively easier than it was thirty years ago as I never carried a camera with me back then so there are more images of the present era than from back then. Here is a varying degree of images and scenarios that we stumbled upon along the way.

If you notice any similarities with your own Fireplace or Chimney perhaps you should take note…

Example Of Spillage

The term “Spillage” means the products of combustion are not able to vent the chimney correctly for varying different reasons, they spill out the front of the appliance being used and enter the room. If this is a Solid fuel, wood or coal its very obvious you have a “SMOKEY FIRE” with the stains and smell to go with it. A gas appliance would be harder to identify as there would be minimal signs in the room or odour. This could be down to the fact the appliance was installed incorrectly in the first place or lake of maintenance, problems escalate over time. With annual sweeping and servicing with the mandatory tests carried out to ensure the appliances and flue system function correctly would identify any problems with the appliance and flue system. Below is just one scenario example.

Signs of Spillage

Signs of Spillage

The appliance is a Jetmaster open fire. If you look above the Jetmaster on the stone surround you can see where smoke has stained the stone indicating that the appliance is not removing the products of combustion into the flue which is highly dangerous as this will mean “Carbon Monoxide” entering the property. We had to condemn the installation until a solution was found.

There could be a number of reasons for this to occur.

  1. Lack of ventilation into the room causing the flue to choke
  2. The throat of the flue not being correctly tapered and having flat spots causing the draw in the chimney to slow down
  3. A blockage in the chimney itself, soot build up where it has not been maintained, birds nest, mortar from the initial building of the chimney not being removed when it was constructed, affectionally known as “Snotts”
  4. An incorrect terminal or blocked terminal
  5. A flue has not been constructed to Building Regulation Document J
After Investigation

After Investigation

Once we removed the appliance and looked up the chimney we found “Snotts” blocking the lower bend, they had been there from day one and were never removed from when the chimney was built partially blocking the flue.

Once they had been removed we smoke tested the draw of the chimney to prove that was the case.



The customer had lost faith in the old Jetmaster which is only 47% efficient, we ended up installing a Stovax Riva 55 inset stove 84% efficient and controllable on a flexible liner with a new Honed granite back panel.

More Spillages

Spillage 1


Chimney & Fireplace Faults

The “Example of spillage” above is just one of the scenarios we have been faced with. Here is a selection of pictures taken from different locations across the area we cover. The appliances range from Open fires, Wood-burning / Multi-fuel stoves and Gas appliances. What they all have in common is they will cause a chimney to vent incorrectly. This could and in some cases would lead to problems, including fatalities by carbon monoxide poisoning. Hence why it is law to have a Carbon Monoxide alarm installed in the room with every appliance. The problems would be smoke entering back into the room, there would be signs of spillage with soot staining and smoke damage on the fireplace. In some instances of very bad chimneys there will be signs of this on the wall and ceiling with a creosote / smoky smell in the air and on the furnishings in the room.

If your sat in your chair at home in front of your Open fire, Wood-burning stove, gas fire and there is any similarity in the dialog or pictures to your own Scenario... Now would be a good time to act.

Birds Nest, Complete blockage
1 10
A dented flue in a garage, the appliance was in the sitting room on the other side of the wall
1 11
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 12
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 13
Birds nest inside of a Flexible liner connected to a floor standing gas boiler, no bird guard installed
1 14
Whoever installed the liner to the appliance, installed a liner that was to short for the chimney By about a meter, hence why the birds could build a nest. very bad practice
1 15
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 16
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 17
17 Creosote / Tar
1 18
Looking up a chimney that should have been swept years ago
1 19
Wire mesh installed and overlapped in a rain cap, the holes are to small. This will get frequently blocked up
1 2
Bricks laid across the throat of the opening for a gas fire partially blocking the flue
1 20
The same rain cap as picture 19 looking at the side elevation
1 21
Looking down the chimney we found a brick blocking a flue half way down… most bizarre
1 22
The brick that was inside the flue from picture 21
1 23
A nest partially blocking a flue, no bird guard installed
1 24
Cement partially blocking the flue when the chimney was constructed, it also helped stop the twigs
1 25
Looking up at cement snotts in a chimney
1 26
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 27
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 28
Hornets nest in the top a chimney. I got down the ladder faster than I went up
1 29
Once we had disconnected the stove it became obvious why the stove was smoking back into the room
1 3
Collapsed Flexible liner in a chimney due to incorrect fuel being used
1 30
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 31
Creosote / Tar build up inside the terminal. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 32
Creosote / Tar build up inside the terminal. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 33
Creosote / Tar build up inside the terminal. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 34
Creosote / Tar build up inside the flue. Lack of maintenance, slumbering or burning wet or unseasoned wood
1 35
Flat spots inside a flue will never funnel the smoke correctly, you should have nothing less than 45 degrees inside a flue or throat leading into the flue
1 36
This fireplace spilled products back into the room due to the poor throat leading into the chimney
1 37
Looking up at cement snoots in the lower bend of the chimney
1 38
Had the right idea but just badly designed
1 39
Looking up a chimney at a bird’s nest completely blocking the flue
1 4
Cob webs in a flue used for a gas fire
1 40
A ventilation cowl installed on a working chimney with wire mesh as a bird guard
1 41
Wire mesh pushed inside the top of a brick chimney without a chimney pot, presumably to stop the birds nesting. But can you spot the Jackdaw feather...?
1 5
Badly altered chimney, this brake so many rules we ended up installing an electric unit
1 6
Looking down inside an old chimney the bricks between the two flues (the feathers) have disintegrated. This will allow fumes to enter the adjacent flue
1 7
Looking down the chimney the flue should be the same cross-sectional area as the chimney pot
1 8
Looking down the chimney at a rotted out Flexible liner
1 9
Cement partially blocking the flue when the chimney was constructed
A flue pipe just pushed up the flue without a liner with rock-wool insulation wedged around it.
An air brick sealed outside with silicon and a water pipe for the outside tap knocked through it. All appliances need air for combustion and for the flue to function correctly.
Bricks blocking the flue, they were holding the chimney pot in place when it was first installed and never chipped back once the chimney pot was set in position.


  • Huge thanks Robert, Ruth and all your lovely team - the stove and fireplace look wonderful! We rather like the bespoke unpolished granite surround so will hold off painting it for the moment 😊. A great experience from start to finish and can’t wait for the chilly evenings to come now, to test it out. Much appreciated.

    Clare from Baughurst - 21/7/23

  • Hello Rob, Ruth and Team Many thanks for everything, we love it. I also wanted to say that the people you employ are also fantastic and a real credit to your business. I don’t think we have ever had such courteous and friendly tradesmen. Thanks again and we will let you know when we are ready to do the living room.

    A,T & G - 19/04/2023

  • Hello Ruth, Rob and team, thank you so much for guiding us through the process of buying a wood burner and advising on look and tiles to use etc. I know we took our time to choose but we like to consider things carefully so we really get what we want and understand the implications of our decisions. You came as a recommendation from our daughter and we would be happy to recommend you to others. Thanks again to you and the team who installed.

    Tony & Sue - 08/03/2023

  • Hi Ruth and Rob, just a quick thank you, we are very happy with the end result to say the least. The guys, Matt, Ross and Josh were outstanding, I run a trade team myself so I should know what I am talking about. Our dealings with all of you from the start has been brilliant so thank you!

    Martin & Jane - 16/02/2023

  • Thank you so much for the outstanding work carried out by your team. The fireplace is amazing and we can’t compliment all of the engineers enough. Throughout they were super friendly polite and professional. On completion the room was spotless and a full explanation of stove operation given. We would have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone. 11 out of ten!

    Mr JC Keates - 31/01/2022

  • I am very pleased with the new gas fire, thank you. I was also very impressed with your team of guys who did a really good and tidy job.

    Nick Dalton 28/02/2019

  • We absolutely looooooove our burner!!! The guys were brilliant, so tidy and polite and did a fab job!! And both you and rob have been so helpful!!

    Michelle Kirk 09/03/2019

  • Thank you Tinderbox, great job really happy with the work and service. No hesitations on recommending you to friends and family.

    Ali McFarlane 01/03/2019

  • We are delighted with the fire thank you very much

    Kate Feaviou 15/01/2019

  • Both Sarah and I would like to thank you for the installation of the wood burner and how you've handled things with us. We're delighted with the stove and beam, we feel it makes the house more of a home.

    Ross Gowland 02/11/2018

  • Thank you so much for all your help with our lovely stove, your knowledge and experience was invaluable when we were making our choices of stove and surround. We have found the whole process a lot easier than we were expecting and your installation staff were great. They tried their hardest to avoid any unnecessary making good and made sure all of our furniture etc. was well covered during the works. We are looking forward to having the fire lit and not worrying about flying embers, which was an issue with our open fire!

    Linda & John Sutton 14/03/2019

  • We came to the Tinderbox thinking we'd like one type of fireplace, but having seen the full range and had a good discussion with Ruth and Robert, we decided on another model. Installation was done swiftly and competently by their fitters and we are delighted with the result. We recommend The Tinderbox for its welcome, friendly service and good support.

    RC Burghclere April 2018

  • Thank you for everything you have done for us, especially for the custom trim, which has finished it off perfectly. I will be sure to recommend you to friends and neighbours who may be considering installing a stove.

    CJ Lychpit March 2018

  • A search on Google introduced us to The Tinderbox. We now have a beautiful log burner installed to replace our Victorian cast iron fireplace. Tinderbox kindly removed the old fireplace to enable us to gauge the space available and give us time to choose an appropriate log burner. Their staff were always extremely helpful, any query immediately responded to, and all necessary work involved to remove the old fireplace and install the new burner was undertaken to the highest quality. Would recommend Tinderbox without hesitation – and would also recommend the joys of a log burner!

    DC Headley 03/07/2017

  • I've just got home and the stove looks lovely. We are both really pleased and look forward to using it this winter. The installation team were brilliant and have done a splendid job

    RG 18/08/17

  • Since your team finished installing the stove, I think that you're safe in the knowledge that we're both very happy with the result and we've had many successful burns in the last few months. Each time we spend evenings in the lounge, We still find ourselves not quite able to believe that our vision of what we wanted for the room could have turned out so well. Thank-you so much to yourselves and the wider team for making our vision a reality.

    ML Basingstoke Dec 2017

  • Look at this gorgeous fireplace. Love it so much, Thank you.

    TU Chieveley 07/12/17

  • Tinderbox, Thanks to the team for such a fabulous job. We love our new stove and fireplace and can’t wait to snuggle down!

    LO Hermitage 24/11/17

  • The woodburner has been a huge success - a big thank you to all at Tinderbox for getting in sorted in time for Christmas - it is great - my husband is g pleased with it

    EK Wokefield 20/12/16

  • Robert and the team came and fitted our beautiful stove on a wet and windy day before Christmas. They braved the elements to get all that was needed down the chimney. They covered all the furniture, any dust was hoovered away. This is our third stove from Tinderbox, none of the chimneys have been easy - but they have solved all challenges that our house has thrown at them! Our house is cosy and we have 3 beautiful and effective stoves. Robert has gone on to do several more stoves locally. Ruth is a star in the office, especially in relation to our last stove which we were very specific about and was hard to source. I would recommend them without a doubt.

    RP 15/01/16

  • We are thrilled with the stove and the excellent, painless installation. Thank you and your guys.

    M&P Overton 05/03/16

Get In Touch

01635 268366
Unit 7b, Riddings Farm, Goose Hill, Headley, RG19 8AU

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Please call to arrange an appointment for one to one specialist advice: 01635 581073

Or email info@thetinderbox.biz

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The Tinderbox Woodburning Stoves and Fireplaces