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Sparks fly

There is nothing like sitting around an open fire on a chilly day.

In the colder weather you may feel like turning up the heat with an open fire or wood burning stove. 

Don't let the sparks fly

  • Don’t overload your fire place or burn resinous woods.
  • Only burn suitable fuels.
  • Let the fire burn out completely before you go bed.
  • Always check round the fire place for hot embers or sparks.
  • Use a British Standard fire guard to prevent sparks escaping.
  • Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly.
  • Maintain your appliance in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fit a smoke alarm on each floor of the building, check the batteries reguarly and change the batteries yearly (unless you have 10 year batteries).

Wood burning stoves

  • The stove or boiler should be the correct size for the room.
  • It should be installed by a competent person, following the maker's instructions and the building regulations and codes of practice.
  • Make sure there is always enough air coming into the room and that the chimney is clean.
  • The stove must be placed on a fire-resistant base
  • Only use dry and well-seasoned wood (moisture content less than 17%).
    • A well-seasoned log will have drying-out splits in the ends.
    • Wet or newly-felled wood can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney.
  • If the creosote is not removed through yearly cleaning, there is a significant danger of the creosote igniting and causing a chimney fire.
  • If the wood burner has been used slowly (overnight, for instance) this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again.
  • The chimney should be cleaned at the end of each heating season and at least once during the heating season.
  • Inspect your chimney regularly.
  • Do not stack logs or place any other combustible materials immediately next.  to the stove or boiler.
  • Take extra care and wear the proper protection when opening the stove door, adding to the fire or touching any part of the wood burning stove.
  • Never leave a fire unattended for any reason.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Make sure you have your appliances installed and regularly serviced by a qualified engineer.
  • Ensure your home is properly ventilated. Never block vents.
  • Make sure all chimneys are regularly swept and flues are kept clear.
  • Only burn fuel the fire or stove is designed for and don’t overload the fire.
  • Fit a carbon monoxide detector as an additional safeguard against the build-up of poisonous fumes.

Disposal of ash

Improper ash removal from fireplaces and wood burning stoves cause many fires every year. Hot coals can stay hot for up to four days when they insulated by a pile of ash.

  • Store ash and hot coals in a metal container that can be tightly closed with a metal lid. This helps keep air from blowing through and disturbing the ashes which can leave hot coals exposed for re-ignition.
  • Wet ashes prior to closing the metal lid.
  • Do not store your metal ash container:
    • inside the house
    • on a timber deck
    • in a garage
    • in a shed
    • or in any location that may allow heat to transfer from hot coals to nearby flammable items
  • Never empty ashes into:
    • a paper or plastic bag
    • cardboard box
    • or other similar containers
  • Never place hot ashes in your wheelie bin.
  • Leave the ashes in the container for several days before disposing of them
  • Wood ash, once completely cooled can safely be disposed of in your garden. Natural firewood ash makes a great additive that your plants will enjoy.  Make sure you remove any mulching material such as dried leaves and other dried plants first, so there is nothing to catch fire in your garden.

Firewood storage

  • Store firewood away from fire places or stoves as there is a risk of accidental ignition via radiated heat, particularly over a period of time.
  • Store firewood outside, away from buildings.