Written by Hugh Metcalf

6 essential chimney checks before lighting a fire this autumn 

Ready to cosy up in front of your fireplace? Be sure to make these safety checks to your chimney and flue before lighting your first fire of the season.

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Image: A new launch from Stovax, the Vogue 700 Inset fire makes for a beautiful centrepiece for your living room

With the weather taking a dramatic turn for the chillier, you may be thinking about lighting your first fire of autumn in the coming weeks. However, before you do – pay due diligence to your chimney, flue and fire or woodburning stove to ensure that everything is operating as it should be.

Carry out these checks, provided by insurers NFU Mutual, and you can cosy up in front of the fire with the knowledge your chimney is functioning safely.

Survey your chimney routinely

Chimneys should be routinely checked and maintained to make sure that they are structurally sound, and able to cope with the demands of modern heating appliances. Call in the professionals before lighting your first autumn fire to ensure everything looks how it should.

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Get your chimney swept

Your chimney should be swept by a professional chimney sweep at least twice a year if you use it a lot. Consider havingit swept both before the logburning season and in spring time when the weather turns a little warmer.

Read more: 5 essential checks before using your woodburner this autumn

Look for lining issues

Your chimney lining (if you have one) should also be insulated and regularly inspected – a chimney sweep should be able to spot any potential issues. This is particularly important when the main fuel is wood, as tar deposits can be combustible and corrosive.

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Image: Pixabay

Burn seasoned hardwood only

You should only burn seasoned hardwood in your woodburning stove – this is wood that has been left to dry out for an appropriate amount of time, around two years. 

Read more: Your guide to stoves and fires

Fit a bird guard

Deterring birds from nesting in your chimney with a bird guard is in everyone’s best interests, especially when it comes to the time of year you’re starting to light fires. 

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Image: Westfire Uniq 37 stove, Eurostove

Check for stove accreditation

If you’ve moved into a home that’s already got a stove, you need to make sure that it was fitted by a HETAS registered installer. There should be a small metal plaque, which is usually found in or near the fuse box. If there isn’t one, call in the experts to find out your options.

 

Have you lit a fire yet this year? Let us know! Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page

 

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