• Have your chimney cleaned by a professional
• Use the correct fuel
• Check that your home is in line with building regulations
• Never burn household waste
• Avoid storing wood near your fire or stove
• Use a fire guard and avoid leaving a fire unattended
• Carry out regular checks of your fire and carbon monoxide alarms
• Keep your home insurance and contents cover up to date to ensure you’re covered should the worst happen
After a relatively mild start to winter, the recent cold snap means houses up and down the country are relying on their fire to stay warm. However, recent statistics from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government highlighted that approximately 40% of house fires in Ireland are caused by a chimney catching fire. To help you keep your home and family safe while staying warm, our AA Home Insurance team have put together some tips on how to prevent a chimney fire.
Most Common Causes of Chimney Fires
Chimney fires can be caused by any number of factors, but there are a few common causes which can be easily avoided.
• Infrequent cleaning and sweeping of the chimney
• Burning wet wood or unseasoned turf
• Incorrect installation of stoves
• Allowing wood to burn overnight in stoves
Hire a Professional To Clean Your Chimney
It is significantly more difficult for a clean chimney to catch fire than one which hasn’t been swept in a long time. To keep your home safe, schedule regular cleanings or sweepings of your chimney which will remove built-up soot or flammable tar which can cause chimney fires.
Depending on the fuel you burn, the frequency with which your chimney should be swept can vary. Below is a general guide to help you plan your own cleaning schedule.
Smokeless coals – At least once per year
Wood / Turf – Up to 4 times per year
Bituminous Coal – Twice per year
Oil – Once per year
Gas – Once per year
Use The Correct Fuel
When you have a fire or stove installed, it’s important to use the fuel which is recommended by the manufacturer. Doing so will not only help prevent chimney fires, but can also keep you and your loved ones safe from dangerous gases.
Comply With Building Regulations
When adding a new fireplace or stove to your home, always have the work carried out by an accredited installer who will ensure that building safety regulations are followed. If your fireplace/stove is installed then ask your chimney sweep to check if the current setup complies with building regulations the next time you have it cleaned.
Be Fire Safety Conscious
As well as the above steps to help prevent chimney fires, it’s important to keep general fire safety at the fore of your mind during the cold months. Avoid burning household waste in your fire or stove as this can be particularly hazardous and use a fireguard whenever possible to prevent sparks from igniting items near your fireplace.