What are the causes of a chimney fire?
Poor maintenance is one of the key issues as it occurs when deposits of carbon and dust accumulate in a chimney and are set alight by sparks or flames from an open fire. The use of poorly dried out turf and wood will increase tarry deposits which are produced when these materials are burned.
How are they avoided?
Cleaning your chimney twice per year would be good practice as regular cleaning is the only real way chimney fires can be controlled. Cleaning at the start of the cold season (autumn) as the chimney can gathere debris (Bird’s Nests, etc) and also to remove soot. You should also try and sweep midway through to prevent fires occurring. Naturally things like the amount you use the chimney and the age of the chimney will determine the amount of times you should clean it. The older the chimney flue, the more likely it is to have pots dislodged therefore this could create a cold spot in the liners. Personally I don’t recommend using chemical blocks if they can be avoided, as regular use of a brush will avoid this.
What if I have a chimney fire?
- Assuming it is an open fire, Use a screen in front of the fire to prevent the fire catching onto other items within the room.
- Pour water over the fire when possible to extinguish it and keep water available should it be required.
- Phone the Fire Brigade and keep a close eye on the fire until they arrive.
When the fire service have left, you need to think about the internal liners within the chimney. If they are damaged, you can claim from your insurance company for the damage.
The damage isn’t visible to the naked eye therefore tell-tale signs like the smell of smoke when the fire is lit or sand entering the fire place doesn’t always occur after a fire. A good CCTV survey will be able to determine if the internal flue liners are damaged or not. Remembering, if you don’t check it out and a chimney fire occurs again you will be only entitled to 50% compensation if you decide to claim at that point.
Cracked internal liners also lead to cold spots, which become a haven for a tar build up within the liner which will require increased maintenance to keep clean.
A company we have a long standing relationship with is Top Cap Chimney Services. They refer oodles of insurance claims to us each year and we assist their clients in obtaining at least a 30% better settlement within the insurance Claim.