29 May Safety checks for your stove and fireplace
For a safe fireplace and stove it is important to get yours checked by a professional on a regular basis. Most installation companies will issue reminders to their customers and ours should have received theirs by now. However, it is still important to keep an eye on things yourself so that you can identify any changes or problems should they occur as early as possible. We have put together a short checklist for you to help you get to know the ins and outs of your fireplace or stove and be ready to tackle any potential problems long before they escalate.
Start with the outside first. You are looking for any of the following:
- Chimney. Check for any bricks that may be damaged or loose. Is the chimney leaning to one side? Is the chimney cap well fitted or is it loose and moving around? You want it to be fit tightly so that it does not get damaged by high winds or allow water in when it rains.
- Creosote build-up. Check for any visible build-up which could be in any of three forms:
- as a sticky liquid that could run down the chimney or stove pipe
- as a flaky, black-coloured deposit that you can brush away
- as a hard tar that is difficult to remove and will require professional intervention
It is a highly combustible substance that will build up over time as fireplace and stove temperatures are not typically high enough to push all combustible gases up the chimney, so it will need to be removed.
- Flashing.You want to make sure it is intact and there are no gaps or cracks in it.
Once you have finished inspecting the outside, move indoors and check for the following:
- Stoves: you want to make sure that:
- the glass door has no cracks and is still well sealed. Clean off any soot build-up
- you empty the ash drawer and clean the grate
- the gaskets are clean and the gasket rope on the doors fits tightly
- there is no rust build-up anywhere on your stove
- your filters are clean and if not, replace them as often as necessary
- there is no dust on the stove blower and if there is that it is well cleaned
- Fireplaces: check that:
- the damper is open when you want to use the fireplace. You should also check that it is clear of debris before every use
- the grate is cleaned regularly and that you remove excess ash. A thin layer is useful at the bottom, but as you are unlikely to be using it again for a few months it is best to clear it out for the summer
- there are no holes in your fireplace screen
- your fireplace tools are in good condition
It is also worth checking and replacing batteries if necessary in your smoke detectors and/or carbon dioxide alarms and that if you have any fire blankets or fire extinguishers that they are still current, easy to access, and that everyone in the house knows how to use them.