Fireplaces have many functions, from being pieces of history to a simple ‘nice to have’ accessory.
But at certain times, they can also prove to be a lifeline.
During a power cut, fireplaces can provide a main source of heating. It gives a sense of security as an independent heat source.
And for people who are on their own for long periods of time, it can be almost like a companion.
Stove and fireplace usage could rise above normal levels over the next few months, given world events. But is your appliance ready to rise to the challenge?
The key to having a consistent and effective supply of heat from your fireplace depends on one person – you.
Here’s 5 ways YOU can ensure your appliance is in the best shape possible.
Book A Chimney Sweep NOW
I really can’t stress enough the importance of getting your appliance swept at this point.
Even if it was done a few months ago, a chimney can get blocked or become faulty quite quickly. Over 12 months and it definitely needs a sweep.
Even if you have the best appliance, the best fuels and the best burning practices, they are all pointless unless the chimney is working. So make that appointment today!
Make Sure Your Stove/Fireplace is Serviced
An appliance won’t work properly if it hasn’t been serviced. Air channels get blocked, efficiency can decrease and performance can be hampered.
Make sure all bricks, rope seals etc are in good order, as these all help make for a well-functioning appliance.
It’s better to get a professional to look at these, and many sweeps do this as part of their checks anyway.
Use Appropriate, Quality Fuels
Good fireplaces and chimneys need good fuels – plain and simple.
Only use dry wood with a moisture content below 20% – double check with a moisture meter.
If you are using coals, it is always better to choose Approved Smokeless Fuel which is dry. If the coals come out of the bag wet, put them in a box to dry out before putting on the fire.
Do NOT burn anything like household rubbish, treated wood, plastics and so on. These will cause pollution, damage your appliance and can potentially cause a chimney fire.
Don’t Slumber/Burn Overnight
It’s very tempting to try to ‘keep the fire in’ if you’re using it over a prolonged period of time. But this is actually a very bad idea.
First and foremost, as a consumer, it is actually a waste of money. You will get next to no heat, yet you will still use fuel.
But it will also cause a massive amount of pollution – increasing the risk of aggravating respiratory illnesses – and potentially cause a chimney fire.
The best way is to simply light a new fire each time you want to use it. Burn your fuels hot (a stove pipe thermometer will help) and, that way, you will get the best from your fireplace.
Check Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm
It’s really important that you not only have a Carbon Monoxide alarm, but that it is also working and positioned in the correct place.
I see so many alarms which are on sideboards, on the floor, in drawers, behind televisions and so on.
Generally speaking, alarms should be in a fixed position on a wall or ceiling, but please always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on this as they may slightly vary from one brand to another.
This is only a brief guide. There are many more things which may be relevant to you, but that advice can only be given by a professional, registered sweep when they are in your property, doing their checks.
Real fires can be a lifeline in certain situations, but if you neglect to have them swept and serviced, they can also be deadly.
Stay safe, stay warm – get it swept!