Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July is Chimney Fire Safety Week in conjunction with the “Fire Kills” campaign, The National Association of Chimney Sweeps, The Guild of Master Chimney Sweepsand The Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps. UK fire statistics show that every year an average of 30,000 houses have chimney fires.
How do chimney fires occur?
When burning fuel in your solid fuel appliance or open fire, the fumes emitted are expelled via theflue liner or chimney. These gaseous fumes cool down as they rise and any substances contained within the fumes condense, and form a tar-like residue called creosote that sticks to the inside of theflue supplies or chimney. Creosote is extremely flammable and in sufficient quantities can catch alight – even from a small jumping spark from the burning fire below.
Common causes of Chimney Fires
– Any wood can create creosote and it can never be completely prevented, but burning wet, unseasoned wood will create significantly higher levels of creosote than normal.
– Cold flue/chimney temperatures, which increase the likelihood of condensation.
– Failure to have the flue liner or chimney swept regularly.
– Restricted air supply caused by blockages or an incorrect cowl.
– Using an appliance that is too large for the room and so is never used to its full capacity.
– Smouldering wood for long periods of time.
How to prevent a Chimney Fire
– Only use dry, seasoned wood with a moisture content of under 20%.
– Have your flue liner or chimney swept at least once a year; if you are using your appliance regularly for long periods of time, it is recommended to increase this to two or three times a year. Chimney sweep brushes can be found in our flue supplies store.
– Do not cap off a chimney or flue liner connected to a working fire; ensure you have the correctchimney cowl fitted that allows proper expulsion of fumes.
– Ensure you have the correct size appliance installed for your room size, so that the appliance is used to full capacity and is therefore hot enough to burn off as much of any substances contained within the fuel as possible.
– Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
– Do not burn cardboard, rubbish or Christmas trees, which are more likely to produce sparks.
– Always have your appliance and flue lining installed by a HETAS registered installer, to ensure compliance with building regulations.
Lakeside Business Park
Mon-Fri - 9am - 5pm
Saturday - 9am - 4pm
Sunday - Closed
Phone - 01285 861099