Fire & Chimney Safety

In order to keep the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires down to a minimum we offer this advice -

- Do not store logs or other flammable materials next to your stove.
- Avoid firewood above 30% moisture.
- Do not leave roaring fires unattended.
- Use a fireguard on an open fire when necessary.
- Empty your ash pan regularly.
- Have your chimney swept at least once a year, at least twice a year if you burn house coal or seasoned logs and at least four times a year if you burn wet/poorly seasoned firewood.
- Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have a stove maintenance check once a year.

Q & A

Q: Are there potential dangers from burning wet/poorly seasoned wood?

A: Yes, this can cause some serious tarring problems with the chimney and corrosion problems with the inner liner of the flue. Cue to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires if not swept up to four times a year, which goes to show that whilst you're saving money burning poorly seasoned wood, it is a false economy! Your chimney sweep merchant can pass on useful advice when necessary.

Q: What could happen if I put house coal in a wood burner?

A: Warning: House coal and wood burners DO NOT MIX! Wood burners are not designed to burn coal efficiently. Firewood burns more efficiently from air from above and on a bed of ash whilst coal relies on a source of air from below the fire - wood burning stoves don't provide a source of air from below. As there is also no grate at the bottom of the wood burner, ash produced by coal will likely block air from getting to the fire - cue to excess smoke and carbon monoxide! Coal burns hotter than firewood, hot enough to cause permanent damage to the wood burner! Smokeless fuel in a wood burner could potentially be hazardous too!

Q: Is it okay to put house coal in a multi-fuel stove?

A: Not all multi-fuel stoves are designed to cope with house coal. We do not advise coal in a multi-fuel stove unless approved by the manufacturer.

Q: My fire is burning quicker than usual! Why is this?

A: Don't forget to close your air vent (and damper located within the stovepipe if you have one) once you've got your fire going! It is also not unusual for fires to burn quicker than usual on a windy day when the wind can get inside vents. If you're burning softwood logs, they burn faster than denser hardwood logs. Other more serious reasons could be damage to the stove such as a failed gasket seal on the stove door or a possible leak in the stovepipe area.

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