Make Your Chimney Safe For Santa
If you’re getting ready for your visit from Santa, you need to be sure that your chimney and fireplace are safe, not just for Mr Claus, but for your family.
Christmas is just around the corner and as the weather gets colder and more miserable, you’ll no doubt be looking forward to some cosy nights in, in front of a roaring fire. But with fire and rescue services all over the country warning us to stay safe with open fires this winter, it’s essential you check your chimney is clean, safe and professionally swept, ready for cosy fires and Santa’s arrival.
A chimney fire can have disastrous effects – not only is it massively dangerous and could cause a serious fire endangering the lives of your family and neighbours, but, even if it’s not as severe as that, it can still cause structural damage to your house and ruin your home, furniture and belongings with soot and smoke damage.
The biggest cause of chimney fires is a build-up of soot, creosote and debris that ignite when you light the fire, so it’s essential you keep them clean – not only to avoid fires, but to allow the free passage of the toxic combustion gasses that also result from an oven fire.
So, make sure you contact a professional chimney sweep to clean out your chimney, preferably before it turns cold and you begin to rely on it for heating. You should have any fireplace swept at least once a year but, depending on the type of fire you have and the type of fuel you burn, it could be more often:
- 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
Top safety tips
There are lots of other safety precautions you should take if you have an open fire over the festive period, to help keep your family safe from the threat of fire.
For example, if you’re burning wood make sure you only ever use dry, seasoned woods and never burn cardboard, boxes or waste paper as they can easily get blown out of the fire place, scatter in to living room and get sucked up the chimney alight, increasing the risk of fire.
Always ensure embers are properly put out before you go to bed or leave the house and never leave a fire to simply burn out by itself. And remember to always use a suitable fire guard that is the right size to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
Also, it’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed to warn you and your family of the build-up of harmful and poisonous fumes. And of course – make sure you have a working smoke alarm fitted and tested regularly.