What causes a chimney fire?
Chimney fires occur when carbon deposits(creosote) and soot accumulate in a chimney and are then ignited by a spark, heat or flames from an open fire.
Most fuels create soot when burnt and without regular cleaning can build up inside of your chimney and flue and catch fire.
Burning cardboard or unseasoned wood like Christmas trees can lead to a chimney fire!
How to avoid a chimney fire?
Regular cleaning and burning the right fuel correctly are the only ways to prevent a build up of soot and creosote. See the recommended cleaning guide for the fuel you use below.
Are chimney fires dangerous?
Yes, chimney fires can burn at over 1000'C which is hot enough to melt, crack or displace mortar and tiles. This may then allow harmful fire gases to escape into your home. The next fire may travel through the breached flue and reach the combustible
framework of your house.
Your sense of smell dose not work while your asleep and smoke
may put you into a deeper sleep.
Do NOT take your battery out of your alarm,
No battery = No chance.
- Make a fire escape plan and practice it often.
In the event of a fire get OUT, call the fire brigade and stay OUT!
We carry escape ladders that can be fitted under an upstairs window and deployed in the event of a fire.
- Check for fire dangers in your home and CORRECT them.
Make sure Chimney flues are regularly cleaned.
As a cleaning guideline:
| Wood burning fires|| Quarterly when in use|
| Solid fuel fires|| Once a year if using smokeless fuel|
| Solid fuel fires|| Twice a year if using coal|
| Oil fires|| Once a year|
| Gas fires|| Once a year if cleaning is applicable|
- Carry out a 'last thing at night' routine :
Check exits are clear, including stair cases.
Shut all doors to limit the travel of smoke in the event of a fire.
Make sure fires are well down and spark guards are in place.
Do not leave electrical appliances on stand by, plug out before
going to bed (except 24 hour devices ie. fridges etc.)
Switch off electric blanket before you sleep.
Empty all ashtrays before going to bed.
- Be carbon monoxide aware.
Carbon Monoxide ( Also known as CO) is a colourless, odorless poisonous gas. Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels including Gas, Coal, Coke and Wood. CO is increased in a wood stove when you let the stove 'Slumber' overnight. People are most vulnerable while asleep or nodding off by their fireside.
Blocked chimneys and flues can allow fumes seep into your home and badly effect your health or even kill you.
With an increase in the number of devices which extract the air in the home, e.g bathroom and kitchen extractor fans, in conjunction with more energy efficient homes, a negative pressure situation may occur in the home. This results in a reverse in the airflow spilling CO into the living area.
The severity of CO emissions in the home will often be exacerbated in new energy efficient homes, particularly where double glazing has been installed. This removes the drafts often associated with older properties where a natural ventilation system existed.
Buy a Carbon monoxide alarm for your solid fuel appliance to protect your home against this dangerous gas
|Carboxyhaemoglobin %|| Symptom|
| 0-10|| None|
| 10-20|| Tightness across forehead|
| 20-30|| Headaches|
| 30-40|| Severe headache, weakness, dizziness,|
nausea and vomiting
| 40-50|| Coma, intermittent convulsions|
| 50-60|| Depressed heart action, death possible|
| 70-80|| Weak pulse, slowed respiration, death |
| >80|| Death minutes|
If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning get urgent medical advise and do not use your appliance until it has been checked by a competent person.
- Try to use seasoned wood, preferably hardwoods. Seasoning wood beside the fire for a few days will not season the wood and can be unhealthy for allergy or asthma sufferers (mould spores etc.) as well as being a potential fire hazard.