We might be experiencing unusually warm weather at present but be aware this can come with a sting in the tail and the sting being cold weather, so make sure you have prepared your stove or fire for the cold winter weather.

No doubt you will have already had your chimney swept, the summer is an ideal time when it’s not being used, but if you haven’t  got  it swept as soon as possible. Ideally it should be swept annually although the national association of Chimney sweeps recommend it being swept for every 3 months of use when burning coal and or wood. To find a qualified sweep look up on

How does your stove look, give it the once over before lighting it. If you don’t feel experienced enough get in a stove installation firm. Common issues can be the rope seals which after use can become flattened letting in too much air making everything burn very quickly. New rope and adhesive can be easily purchased on line. A further issue can be firebricks inside the firebox, again they can be easily replaced, and you will find them online. If you want to give your stove a fresh look use  some heat resistant paint such as Stovax Thermolac, it comes in a range of colours.

Most importantly burn the right fuel. Firstly check you’re not in a smoke control area, this can result in a fine if you burn traditional fuel unless it’s on a DEFRA exempt stove. If you are not in a smoke control zone still take great care to burn the right fuel, this ultimately better for your wallet and the environment. Burning wet wood is bad in all ways, consider the amount of energy required to burn of water, the fire then burns cooler, slower with more smoke and lethal particulates which harm the environment. Look for the “Ready to Burn” logo, this ensures your supplier is supplying firewood at or below 20% moisture content. This firewood can either be Kiln dried or naturally seasoned. Some things to be aware of are that Kiln dried firewood can be up to 50% more expensive when compared with naturally seasoned whilst also being imported from Eastern Europe. It isn’t bad and does a good job but why pay more when a naturally seasoned and dried product can do the same job.

Finally burn your fire with a good flame, if your stove is showing a dull orange flame with smoke on the glass it is being starved of oxygen and potentially giving off a cocktail of pollutants i.e. benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is now a legal requirement to have a CO alarm fitted. Ideally a stove should burn at around the 500 degree centigrade level, this can be seen by attaching a thermometer to the outside of your stove, they can be found on line and at retail outlets selling stoves. Make

Above all once you have gone to all the effort of making sure all is right enjoy it there is nothing better than enjoying a room filled with warmth from a stove with its glowing fire giving off that warm atmosphere. Time for a drink after a long hard day!

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