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Fireplace And Chimney Maintenance In Winter

There’s nothing quite like the warmth and comfort of a roaring fire when it’s cold outside. However, before you light that first fire of the season, it’s essential to ensure your chimney and fireplace are in top-notch condition. In this chimney maintenance guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to prepare your fireplace for winter.

London Regulations On Firewood

Before we start, it’s important to highlight that London is a ‘smoke control area’, which means there are restrictions on what can be burned in open fireplaces and wood burners. Generally, open fireplaces are allowed to burn smokeless coal and not wood. That’s because smokeless coal releases 20% less CO2 and works more efficiently than wood. And there is legislation that came out in January 2022 that requires new wood burning stoves to meet new EcoDesign standards. You can find more information on this on the Government website.

Chimney Inspection

Before you start collecting coal, it’s crucial to inspect your chimney. By doing so regularly it can prevent potential hazards and ensure your fireplace operates efficiently. We work with expert partners and specialist chimney sweeps who can check for the following:

  • Blockages: nesting animals, debris, and creosote build-up can obstruct your chimney. A professional can remove these obstructions safely.
  • Structural integrity: ensure that your chimney isn’t suffering from any structural damage, such as cracks or loose bricks.
  • Draft issues: a professional can assess and improve the draft, helping your fireplace burn more efficiently.

Clean the Fireplace and Surroundings

A clean fireplace not only looks better but also functions better. Remove any leftover ash, soot, or debris from the previous season. Wipe down the mantle and hearth to remove any dust or cobwebs. Ensure the fireplace area is tidy and ready for cosy winter nights.

Install or Update Fireguards

Fireguards are essential for safety, especially if you have pets or young children. Ensure your fireguard is in good condition and positioned correctly to prevent sparks or embers from escaping.

Maintain Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Safety should be a top priority when preparing your chimney for winter. Test and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and ensure they are working correctly. These alarms are your first line of defence against potential hazards associated with burning wood.

Fire Safety Equipment

Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand, or a fire blanket nearby in case of emergencies. It’s better to be prepared and have these items readily accessible.

Consider a Chimney Cap

Installing a chimney cap is an excellent way to prevent birds, debris, and rain from entering your chimney. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but can save you from costly chimney repairs.

Regular Maintenance

Throughout the winter season, periodically check your chimney for any obstructions or issues. Keep an eye on creosote build-up and call a professional chimney sweep if it becomes excessive.

Fireplace and chimney maintenance is a crucial step in getting your home ready for the winter. A well-maintained chimney and fireplace are not only safer but also guarantee a more inviting home.

To find out more, get in touch with Bill Shipton: