With households across the country panicking about how they are going to keep their homes warm and get food on the table, there are reports that people are resurrecting fireplaces that haven’t been used for years. More than 3,000,000 households rely on open fires and wood burners to heat their home, but in the last year alone an estimated 30,000 more have been installed, and chimney sweeps are reporting their busiest year yet.
If you are considering using your obsolete fireplace again, it is important that you prioritise safety. Here’s what you need to know.
Keep it clean
Just because a fire was safe to use last century, it doesn’t mean that it will meet today’s standards. Before you even contemplate lighting anything, get in touch with your local chimney sweep. They will be able to give your chimney a good clean and let you know if it is safe to use by today’s standards. Depending on where you live, a chimney sweep will cost you somewhere between £50 and £100, and you should sweep your chimney at least once a year. A full check for a chimney that hasn’t been used for a while will cost around £200; contact your local chimney specialist to find out what services they offer.
Invest in a wood burner
While an open fire may seem like a romantic idea, a wood burner is infinitely more efficient. Instead of the heat going straight up the chimney, a good wood burner will direct it out to the rest of the room. If you spend the majority of your time in one room, investing in a wood burner could help you to save a significant amount on heating. In order to budget appropriately, get in touch with a local installer; they will factor in the cost of the stove, installation, and a new flue if it is needed.
Look for eco burners
Wood burners got a bad reputation in recent years, as the Government data cited woodburning stoves as one of the biggest sources of particulate air pollution. However, wood burners now have to meet stringent emission guidelines which mitigate the pollution risk and make woodburning stoves environmentally and economically viable again.
Budget for logs
While using a wood burner will undoubtedly help you to save on your heating bills, the wood itself can be a significant expense. Bulk buying logs can make it much cheaper, provided that you have space to store them. If you can forage wood for free, even better! Just make sure that you get permission from landowners before you collect wood.
If you are ready to light your first fire, get in touch with your local chimney sweep to schedule a clean and keep your home warm and - most importantly - safe. For more information and advice, follow Trust A Trader on Facebook or Twitter.