Updated: Aug 17, 2022
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How will you be heating your home in the colder weather?
As the cost-of-living soars across the UK, future fuel costs are not far from everyone’s mind. When the colder weather beings to bite, more and more households may be pushed into financial hardships with the rising costs of fuel a major burden, potentially pushing households into fuel poverty. All households, prosperous or otherwise, will be searching for ways to reduce energy costs as well as switching to alternative ways of heating their homes. Log burners and open fires offer a great alternative. They offer a cost effective and carbon neutral way to stay warm this autumn and winter, acting as an antidote to the rising prices of other fuels.
It is essential that these are kept in the best condition before use. Over the past ten years, there has been a reduction in the number of reported chimney fires by 42%. However, there is no room for complacency. Chimney fires do still happen but are easily avoided by keeping your chimney well maintained. January to March is usually the period when you are at most risk of a chimney fire in England.
As part of the Fire Kills Campaign, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Chimney Fire Safety Week aims to reduce chimney fires by raising public awareness to the importance of regular chimney sweeping and the servicing and maintenance of solid fuel and woodburning appliances and chimney systems to keep you and your family warm and safe. Clive Scott CEO of NCSSA, founder of FBCS and a NVQ qualified chimney sweep said:
“Whilst we understand the pressures and uncertain future people are currently facing with affordability of heating their home a major concern for many, chimney sweeps are able to give practical help and advice to keep your household safe and warm this winter. By taking a few simple steps, people can reduce the risk of a fire in the home.”
The Federation of British Chimney Sweeps (FBCS) and its member associations recommend these top tips to keep you and your family safe this autumn and winter from chimney fires when heating your home:
Have your chimney swept regularly by a NVQ Qualified chimney Sweep or a certified chimney sweep before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again
Keep chimneys, flues, and appliances clean and well maintained
Chimneys that have been lined still require regular sweeping
Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks
Avoid ‘slumbering’ an appliance - unless it has been tested as safe to do so. (Slumber mode is setting an appliance is at a low or minimum output normally for overnight burning, to be revived 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
A fire plan can also ensure your family escape in a fire
Take responsibility for your household’s safety: Install smoke and CO alarm in your home and test them weekly
Don’t keep this advice to yourself – pass it on. Is there anyone you can help to organise a sweep or test their alarms?
How often should chimneys be swept?
Smokeless Fuels – at least once a year
Bituminous Coal – at least twice a year
Wood – quarterly when in use
Oil – once a year
Gas – once a year (refer to Gas Safe Register)
Emma Roberts, Herford, and Worcester Fire & Rescue Services added:
“People wouldn’t think twice about getting their cars MOT’d, but chimneys often get overlooked. Why not get the job done now before winter arrives and you really need that chimney?”
Please use the online home safety check tool to see if you, a loved one, neighbour or relative may be at a greater risk from fire. https://www.safelincs.co.uk/hfsc/
You can find a NVQ QUALIFIED chimney sweep here www.chmneyskillstraining.co.uk/nvq-sweep-locator
You can find a Certified chimney sweep here www.federationbcs.com