Reducing the risk of chimney fires in your holiday home

It’s time to do your autumn sweep!


Whilst many of us will revel in the idea of a glass of wine or local ale in front of a roaring fire- especially now the clocks have changed- they do come, with safety considerations and risks; there are approximately 6,000 chimney fires in England each year.

ProSweep look at ways of reducing the risk of holiday home chimney fires.

The most common cause of chimney fires are:

  • Infrequent sweeping and      cleaning
  • Burning unseasoned wood
  • Smoldering wood for long      periods in wood stoves.

Whilst the consequences of chimney fires can be extremely expensive, disruptive and even fatal, there are a few risk reducing things holiday homeowners can put in place which are both low cost and easy to implement.

How to minimise the risk of chimney fires in holiday homes

Sweep your chimney before first use

Any full or partial blockage to your chimney or flue is a risk of both fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. These blockages can be caused by a variety of reasons, from birds nesting to the ongoing build up of soot.

It’s vital that in advance of being lit for the first time in autumn, your chimney is swept. ProSweep as well as providing a professional chimney cleaning service will make recommendations as to how often your holiday homes chimney and flues should be swept.

Chimney sweeping frequency

  • Smokeless fuel – at least      once a year
  • Wood – quarterly when in use
  • Oil and gas – once a year

In addition wood burning stoves, biomass, gas and oil boilers should be installed and regularly serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions by a competent engineer.

Ensure your fire has a fireguard

Sparks can easily fly from your fireplace and quickly result in a fire or at the very least damage to your carpets or flooring. If you do have an open fireplace in your holiday home a fireguard should be provided for guests and be in place at all times.

Remove accelerants

If your property includes a BBQ for visitors to enjoy in the summer you may have materials in your holiday home designed to aid and quicken the lighting or burning of charcoal.

Ensure they are removed from your home in order to avoid guests trying to dangerously accelerate the burning of their fire.

Communicate with your guests

Many of your guests will not have fires at home and will therefore have limited knowledge of their safe upkeep. ProSweep recommend intructions are left on how to use the fire or stove. We especially recomend you inform your guesy=t against slumber burning.

This highlights the need for effective and clear communication of fire safety with your guests. Think of ways in which factors such as ensuring the fire is extinguished before going to bed at night can be conveyed to those staying in your holiday home.

When was the last time you checked your detectors?

Your holiday home should include working smoke alarms or heat detectors and a carbon monoxide alarm which should be checked on a regular basis, not only to replace batteries when necessary but also that the unit is in full working condition. They do save lives so make sure yours are working. ProSweep can check any alarm is working as part of a sweep if required.