When the weather gets colder, we tend to see an increase in chimney fires, as people use their working fireplaces more.
With cost of living remaining high, we think it might be possible that some people, may also consider using their fireplace for the first time in a while, as a way of avoiding rising energy prices.
If you have recently opened a fireplace or chimney up, or are thinking about using one again, please make sure it is inspected by a qualified person, and has been well swept and maintained before you light up for the first time.
We know times are tough, and some people may be looking for ways to save money, but we would urge you to make sure you book in time for a professional chimney sweep to visit to keep you and your property safe and reduce the risk of the costs associated with a chimney fire.
Karen Lock, our Domestic Safety Officer said: “A fire starting in a chimney has the potential to spread to affect the whole house, and the consequences of this can be devastating. It is simply not worth ignoring the risks.
“It is recommended that chimneys should be swept four times a year if you are using wood, twice a year if you are using coal, and at least once a year if you are using smokeless fuels, oil or gas.”
Websites which provide details of Professional Chimney sweeps are:
Our top tips to make sure you are protecting your fireplace, chimney and home from fire, are:
- Keep your chimney and flue clean and well maintained.
- Ensure any fire is extinguished properly before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your house and test them regularly.
- When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only.
- Never burn cardboard boxes or paper.
- Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space.
- Make sure that the chimney breast is sound, and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
- Ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly.
- Consider fitting a carbon monoxide detector.
If you do have a chimney fire, remember the following:
- Your first option should always be to get out, stay out and ring 999.
However, if it is safe for you to do so:
- Shut all air vents and flue dampers to reduce the oxygen supply to the fire.
- Move any flammable materials, such as furniture, away from the fireplace.