Fireplaces have many functions, but they were and still may also prove to be a lifeline, e.g. during a power cut, they can provide the main source of heating and cooking. Having a traditional fire in adverse situations gives a sense of security as an independent heat source and for some people who are on their own for long periods of time, it can be almost like a companion.
Over the next few months, given world events, stove and fireplace usage could rise above normal levels and full lock down could mean no sweep visits are possible.
So are you and your appliance ready to rise to the challenge?
The key to having a consistent and effective supply of heat from your fireplace depends on YOU.
Here’s 5 ways YOU can ensure your appliance is in the best shape possible.
- Book A Chimney Sweep NOW
At this point in time sweeps can’t stress enough the importance of getting your appliance swept now. Even if it was done a few months ago, a chimney can still get blocked or become faulty quite quickly, they all have their own stories but over 12 months and it definitely needs a sweep.
Even having the best appliance, the best fuels and the best burning practices, they are all pointless unless the chimney is working. Make that appointment today!
2. Make Sure Your Stove/Fireplace has been Serviced
Basic maintenance of any appliance that is or has been in use, means it simply won’t work properly unless it has been serviced. Air channels get blocked, efficiency can decrease, performance can be hampered and dangerous situations involving carbon monoxide can arise.
All bricks, rope seals, vents etc should be in good order, as these all help make for a well-functioning appliance. It is better to get a professional to look at these and many sweeps do this as part of their checks anyway.
3. Always Use Appropriate, Quality Fuels
Good fireplaces and chimneys need good fuels – plain and simple.
Do NOT burn anything like household rubbish, treated wood, plastics etc. These will not only cause pollution, damage your appliance, potentially cause a chimney fire but are most probably exposing you to noxious fumes.
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. You should only use dry wood with a moisture content below 20% – double check with a moisture meter.
4. Don’t Slumber/Burn Overnight
It can be very tempting to try to ‘keep the fire on’ if you’re using it over a prolonged period of time but this is a very bad idea. Firstly, as a consumer it is actually a waste of money. You get next to no heat, yet you will still use fuel.
It also causes 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 getting the correct temperature) so you will get the best from your fireplace.
5. Check Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm
It’s not just really important that you have a Carbon Monoxide alarm but that it also works and is positioned in the correct place.
Generally speaking, alarms should be in a fixed position on a wall or ceiling but you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on this because they may vary slightly from one brand to another.
This is only a brief guide and there are many more things which may be relevant to you and your unique situation but that advice can only be given by a professional sweep when they are in your property, doing their checks.
Real fires can be a lifeline in certain situations, but they can also be deadly if you neglect to have them swept and serviced, .
Stay safe, stay warm – get it swept!