22nd January 2019

Check your chimney is clean, safe and swept for Santa’s arrival!

Christmas is fast approaching and with the colder weather here, cosy chimney fires are being lit. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are encouraging you to check your chimney is clean, safe and swept for Santa’s arrival!

Chimney fires can cause serious structural damage to a home, with the risks being even greater if the property has a thatched roof. The damage is not only fire based but also the dirt and smell left from all the soot and smoke, which would affect your personal property, including all your Christmas presents.

Chimneys need to be dirt free to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses, so regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, and help prevent dangerous chimney fires. Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.

Sweeping frequencies

Sweeping frequencies below are for guidance only. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney.

  • Smokeless coals – at least once a year
  • Wood – up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal – twice a year
  • Oil – once a year
  • Gas once a year

Growing in popularity are wood burning stoves and they also need to be checked regularly to ensure they are safe and clean, ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Top tips

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed or leaving the house
  • When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only
  • Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper
  • Do not overload the grate 
  • Consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build-up of poisonous fumes

Smoke alarms

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service advise you to:

  • Regularly check your smoke alarms by pressing their button
  • Once a year change your battery or consider buying a ten-year alarm which will not require frequent battery changes
  • Once a year vacuum and wipe the smoke alarm casing to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor chamber (For mains wired alarms, switch off first).

For more winter safety tips click here.

Make the call to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our website www.dsfire.gov.uk