Nothing beats an open fire in the winter. Whether you prefer crackling logs or glowing coals, there's nothing like building a fire and sitting back to bask in warmth and comfort. But playing with fire means you can get burned in more ways than one, so make sure you follow these safety tips for a safe and cosy winter.
Sweep your chimney
Whether you regularly light fires or you've just moved into a house with a fireplace, you must have it swept before you light any fires. You'll also need to have your chimney flue checked for blockages and creosote deposits – light a fire without having your chimney checked and you could unleash toxic carbon monoxide, the silent killer, into your home. If you don't have a detector and smoke alarm installed then tick that job off your list before you start burning coal or logs.
Whether you have an open fire or a multifuel or wood burner, invest in a good quality fire guard. It's an essential piece of safety kit if you have children or pets in the home and can also protect your carpets and furniture from flying embers. Buy a set of decent fire tools plus a fire extinguisher so you can handle your fire properly.
Use quality fuel
First, check whether you're in a smokeless zone. If you are then invest in good quality smokeless coal for your open hearth or multifuel burner. In fact, with 40% greater efficiency than normal house coal, the smokeless variety is the smart choice wherever you live. Make sure your logs are dry and well stored as burning green or wet wood creates dangerous smoke and creosote deposits in the chimney. Kiln dried logs are an ideal choice, or try an eco fuel like brackettes or coffee logs for greater sustainability. Whatever you burn, always use fuel from a reputable supplier so you know the quality is guaranteed and never overstack your fireplace for the best, safest results.
Up and burning
Once you're up and burning your chosen fuel, it's job done, right? Not quite. You'll need to regularly clean the ashes from your fireplace or burner. You can add wood ashes to your compost heap or use them to clean the glass of your wood burning stove. Remember to always make sure your fire is put out before you go to bed at night too! That way you'll enjoy the benefits of a beautiful fire with total peace of mind.