Solid fuel is an efficient and economical method of heating your home. Smokeless briquettes were developed to be used in smoke free areas across the UK and to improve air quality in the urban environment. Solid fuel heating can greatly reduce condensation, eliminating household mould often associated with ‘on/off’ fires. Medical research has also shown that solid fuel heating can reduce the risk of hay fever, asthma and eczema as the use of a chimney draws fresh air through the house and removes ‘polluted’ air; thus creating a better ventilated home.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Carbon Monoxide is a deadly odourless gas which can cause illness, permanent health damage and far too often, death. It is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels –gas, coal, wood and oil. A certain amount will be formed during the normal process of burning the fossil fuel but the gas is evacuated safety up the chimney and away. However, if your chimney is blocked, or leaking, or if your appliance airways or throat plate are not clear, then the gases will not escape into the atmosphere, but flow back into your house, or on occasion into your neighbour’s house, through a common chimney, with possible deadly results. It is also important to note that in extreme weather conditions, fumes can be forced back down the chimney. If you are burning a smokeless fuel, you may not see any smoke. Elderly people are often more vulnerable because they have lost their sense of smell and although the gas is odourless, the other combustion products from the fuel are not. Almost all cases of carbon monoxide poisoning with solid fuel are the result of a blocked or leaking chimney or poor maintenance. We recommend to fit a carbon monoxide monitor and smoke alarm. Follow the guidance information and enjoy your fire.
VENTILATION AIR IS VITAL
Heating appliances, whatever fuel they burn, need to be able to ‘breathe’ in order to function efficiently and safely. To ‘breathe’, they need a constant and sufficient flow of air so the room must not be completely airtight. If your home has draught-proofing or double-glazing fitted you may need vents or airbricks in an exterior wall of the room. If vents or airbricks are already there always ensure they are not blocked or covered. If in doubt contact your local HETAS heating engineer to check your ventilation.
To enable your appliance to ‘breathe’ efficiently it is absolutely essential that you do not allow soot or ash to build up where it can hinder or prevent the free flow of smoke and other products of combustion.
- Empty and check the ash pan every day.
- Flue ways at the back of the boiler should be cleaned once a week, but always let the fire go out and allow ashes to cool before cleaning.
- The throat plates at the top of the roomheater should be removed and cleaned monthly.
- Have your chimney swept at least once every year, preferably before each winter. Always use a recommended chimney sweep, preferably a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps , Guild of Master Sweeps or Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps. Check in Yellow Pages or contact us for a list of members in your area
YOUR SAFETY CHECKLIST
- Proper ventilation.
- Regular cleaning and sweeping.
- Always use the right fuel.
- Never leave an open fire unattended without a fireguard.
- Always use a securely fitted fireguard when children are in the house.
- Ensure your carbon monoxide and fire alarms are operational.
If your appliance begins to burn slowly, goes out frequently or if you smell or suspect fumes:
- Open doors and windows.
- Carefully put out the fire, or allow it to burn itself out.
- Do not stay in the room any longer than necessary.
- Do not attempt to re-light the appliance until a professional has checked it.
- Contact your local HETAS heating engineer or the Solid Fuel Advice Line