Chimney Fire Prevention Tips
The number of chimney fires in the area have been slowly decreasing but even a small fire can cause significant damage and disruption. Fire isn't the only risk it's important to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance.
- Make sure your chimney is swept regularly
- Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used:
- Smokeless fuels - at least once a year
- Bitumous coal - at least twice a year
- Wood - quarterly when in use
- Oil - once a year
- Gas - once a year (Any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer)
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
- 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
- Ensure good quality fuel is used and store well away from the fire
- Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks
Precautions with open fires
- Do not overfill a fire grate in case coals fall out.
- Use a spark guard.
- Do not place a mirror above a fire, people may stand to close.
- Do not position furniture too close to the fire.
How do I know when I have a chimney fire?
- A loud roaring noise, which occurs as massive amounts of air are sucked through the appliance or fireplace opening and used to oxidize the combustible fuels within the system.
- Sparks and flames seen shooting from the chimney top, which can be firework like in appearance.
- A glowing or shimmering appliance outlet or connector.
- Vibrating appliance, outlet or connector.
- Flames visible through any tiny cracks in the outlet or connector.
- Smoke and odours noticeable in adjoining rooms or the loft space.
- The heating up of the chimney breast or flue pipe, in the same room as the appliance and also other rooms that the flue passes through.
What to do in the event of a chimney fire
- Put the spark guard on and call 999.
- REMEMBER - If it is left unattended, a chimney fire can spread into the rest of the house.
- Some people fear that they will be charged for the Fire Service to attend a chimney fire - this is not true.
More information about Chimney safety
- The Institute of Chimney Sweeps
- The National Association of Chimney Sweeps
- National Association of Chimney Engineers (NACE)
- OFTEC - A trade association that works on behalf of the oil heating and cooking industry in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Latest update : 20 November