How To Keep Your Fire & Chimney Safe
Already the hottest summer in living memory is starting to feel like a distant memory as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. With energy prices rising to levels unimaginable twelve months ago, the temptation for those lucky enough to have open fires and wood burners in their homes will be to make greater use of them to stay warmer for less money this winter.
If you are one of those people, it’s essential that you make sure that you’re looking after your chimney properly. This month, we’re examining a few ways to ensure your fire and chimney stay safe, especially in a period when they’re likely to be used considerably more than usual.
Chimneys need to be regularly swept to ensure that they stay clear for smoke and other emissions – including potentially lethal carbon monoxide – to safely escape your home. That should be at least once a year – preferably in autumn, before the fire season gets underway – although it should be much more often if you’re burning wood that has a moisture content greater than 20%.
And remember that if you don’t get your chimney swept annually, it could adversely affect both the warranty you have on your appliance and your home insurance.
Using dried & smoke-free fuels
As we described in this previous article, burning wet wood can create creosote that can harden and attach to the inside of a chimney, causing blockages and increasing the potential for damaging chimney fires. But it’s not just wet wood that’s the problem – basically, the more emissions your fuel produces, the more damage it can do to your chimney. Quite apart from the environmental benefits, kiln-dried wood, briquettes and other smoke-free fuels will always be the best choice.
Cap your chimney
We’ve already described how you want to make sure things can escape all the way up and out of your chimney. At the same time, you also want to prevent things from coming down your chimney (apart from Santa, of course). Capping your chimney can prevent rainwater from causing damp, birds from building nests and other detritus such as leaves from getting in where you really don’t want them.
Try to avoid building too big a fire, as if it gets too hot, the inside of the chimney could crack and there’s a greater chance of a buildup of that damaging creosote we were talking about. If you’re burning wood, it should be done on a grate at the back of your fireplace.
Put your fire out
Fires that are left to smoulder will continue to push damaging smoke up your chimney. So, if you’ve got all the heat you want out of your fire and you’re going to bed, make sure your fire is fully out first. This shouldn’t be an issue with a good dry wood, as it should burn so hot and so efficiently that there’s not usually anything left to smoulder at the end.
If you have any questions about your chimney, or associated parts, pipes, caps and other accessories for your multi-fuel and woodburning stoves, please get in touch with the experts at our sister company UK Stoves.
For the best fuel for your fire and chimney, talk to the experts at KG Smith & Son. We have one of the widest selections of smoke-free fuel, kiln-dried wood and recycled wood briquettes available online, with fast delivery to wherever you are in the country, including Northampton, Oxford and Cambridge.
Get in touch with us now for more information.