Chimney Fire Safety Week
Thursday 7 September 2023
The importance of chimney maintenance
Chimney Fire Safety Week aims to reduce chimney fires by raising awareness about the importance of chimney maintenance and fire prevention. It is crucial to take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones.
A chimney needs to be properly maintained to prevent it from becoming a safety hazard. Regular maintenance will ensure that both the chimney and fireplace are safe for use.
When wood or coal is burnt, gasses are given off. These turn into soot and tar (creosote) which accumulates on the inside of the chimney. Occasionally loose bricks, bird nests and other debris can fall down within a chimney, acting as fuel.
Chimney fires are commonly started due to a buildup of soot and can cause extensive damage to properties and, in some cases, pose a danger to life.
A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire, so regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues can help to identify and eliminate issues before they become a problem.
The importance of regular sweeps
Having your chimneys swept regularly is crucial to ensure the safety of yourself and your family, as well as to prevent any potential chimney fires within your home. Beyond Housing will make these arrangements and it is crucial that you allow access so that this can be done.
Defects in a chimney can also cause fires. It’s good to go into your loft or roof space occasionally to check the chimney while the fire is alight. This will allow you to check for soot coming from cracks and defective brickwork or mortar joints.
Taking these steps before the winter months, when fires are likely to be in greater use, will help prevent emergencies from happening. Look at some top tips to help reduce the risk of a fire in your home:
- Make sure you allow access for the cleaning and inspection of your chimney to take place by Beyond Housing operatives. This will include access to the loft so the exterior of the chimney can be inspected
- Keep chimneys, flues, and appliances clean and well-maintained. Chimneys that have been lined still require regular sweeping
- Regularly clean soot and ash from your appliance
- Keep air vents or air bricks free from obstruction to ensure a good air flow
- Ensure that you test smoke and CO alarms in your home weekly
- Avoid ‘slumbering’ an appliance – unless it has been tested as safe to do so. (Slumber mode is setting an appliance at a low or minimum output normally for overnight burning, to be revived the next day without having to relight it)
- Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure, you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
- Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house
- Only burn approved fuel on the fire – do not burn household waste items (such as paper or cardboard).
By taking the right precautions around chimney fire safety, you can significantly reduce the risk of chimney fires starting in your home. Stay warm and safe during the colder months by following the recommended safety measures.