The end of August acts as a reminder that colder weather is approaching and before you know it we'll be lighting our woodburners to keep the chill off. Here at Certainly Wood, we think safety is the number one consideration before enjoying all the benefits having a real fire in your home can bring.
Who is behind Chimney Fire Safety Week?
The concept was created as part of the Government Initiative, Fire Kills, which primarily focuses on home owners and landlords ensuring that their properties are fitted with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Organisations like HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme), the governing body for everyone working in the solid fuel industry, as well as the trade media together with chimney sweeps, fire brigades up and down the country and relevant retailers all back the scheme wholeheartedly.
What are the risks of chimney fires?
There are scores of thousands of house fires in the UK every year. Reassuringly, deaths resulting from them are on the decrease. However, 334 people died in house fires in 2021-2022 and that’s 334 too many.
Even if your entire house isn’t burnt down, the damage done by the smoke alone from a chimney fire can be devastating. To give you an idea, there was a case where someone left a candle burning overnight which set fire to a small bookcase. Fortunately, the fire alarm was triggered and they managed to put it out before anything caught fire much beyond the immediate area. However, the damage done by smoke throughout the entire three-story house meant that all the carpets had to be replaced. So imagine if that was a chimney fire, the damage could have been much worse.
How do I reduce the risk?
Here are some suggestions on ways to reduce the risk:
Have your chimney swept twice a year.
Now is a good time to consider getting your chimney cleaned as sweeps are in huge demand come November and December - everyone wants a real fire at Christmas. What’s more, you won’t be disturbing any birds who decided to use your chimney as a handy nesting place during spring and summer, as they will have abandoned it by now.
Not only will the sweep get rid of any build ups of tar or soot that are clinging to the inside of your chimney and have the potential to catch fire, they can also check for any structural damage that might cause a problem either now or in the future.
Use The Right Fuel
We’re bound to say this, aren’t we, but you cannot do any better than buying from a HETAS-backed supplier such as ourselves.
Our kiln-dried logs really are the best. By removing the majority of the water content through kiln drying (to below 20% moisture content), there is far less smoke emitted, which means less soot and tar deposits. It also means your chimney sweep will have a far easier job.
Using natural firelighter such as our Flamers is far better than say newspaper which has a tendancy to float up and could cause problems up the chimney. It can also help to reduce deposits in your chimney too.
Take Safety Precautions
- Make sure you have fire alarms in every room if possible and a carbon monoxide alarm in the room where you have your fire or stove
- Always use a guard in front of an open fire and never leave the doors of a solid fuel stove open if you’re not in the room
- Don’t use your fire to burn paper or other rubbish
- Don’t stoke it up with too much fuel
- Keep your hearth clear when you have your fire going – ornaments and other items should be at least three feet away
- Always make sure the fire is out before you go to bed or leave the house