I’m delighted to be supporting National Chimney Fire Safety Week, which starts tomorrow. It’s seven days dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of chimney fires, and what you can do to prevent them.
Far from being a thing of the past, Chimney fires do still happen, and they are a horrific experience. The results can be devastating. I see the aftermath of chimney fires and it’s not a pretty sight.
Stay safe by following my top tips:
Get Your Chimney Swept Regularly
This might sound obvious coming from a chimney sweep, but it is massively important point. Every flue needs cleaning. Soot is highly combustible and just one spark can cause a chimney fire. The more soot present in your chimney, the greater the risk. They say prevention is better than cure, so regular sweeping will help ensure that your flue is in the best condition possible.
Don’t Slumber Your Fire Overnight
Yes, it’s tempting to shove a load of fuel on your stove, turn down the air controls and then go to bed. But trust me, it’s not only dangerous, but it can wreck your chimney. Forcing fuel to burn slowly, at low temperatures, creates a large amount of smoke. That smoke then condensates in the chimney because it’s too cold. And it produces tar and creosote which then sticks to your chimney or liner. Tar and creosote is highly flammable and can cause a chimney fire; so please don’t slumber your stove.
Don’t Burn Wet/Unseasoned Wood
Freshly cut wood is full of moisture. If you throw this on the fire, you’re effectively pushing a lot of vapour up the chimney. Combined with the amount of smoke that wet wood creates, it can cause tar and creosote which (as mentioned above) can spark a chimney fire. Also, the heat you get from wet wood is very poor, so from a purely economic point of view it’s a waste of your money. If you cut fresh wood, leave it to dry for around 12-18 months – if it doubt use a moisture meter. The recommended moisture level is 20%.
Don’t Use Your Fire as a General Waste Bin
Unfortunately, some people will use their fire as another domestic rubbish bin. Nappies, crisp packets, sweet wrappers – no, no, no! This is very dangerous. Only use approved fuels for your particular appliance. Generally this means wood and/or coal, depending on your appliance and area you live in. Always follow user instructions and check with your local council to see what you can burn in your area.
Get a Carbon Monoxide Alarm and Test It Regularly
This is a must wherever you are burning fuels in doors, be it wood, gas, coal, smokeless fuel etc. Carbon Monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete combustion, you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. But it is deadly. Don’t take that risk – get a Carbon Monoxide alarm fitted and test it regularly.
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep offers a professional and friendly chimney sweep service in Wigan, Stockport, Southport, Ormskirk, Chorley, Warrington, South Preston and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.