Statistically, homes with thatched roofs are no more likely to catch fire than those with conventional roofs, however if they do, the results are often rapid and spectacular. The risk of thatch fires in old and new properties can be greatly reduced by taking sensible precautions like making sure your chimney is swept at the appropriate intervals and having the lining inspected periodically.
"It is crucial that flues, liners and spark arrestors are properly checked and inspected by professionals and that chimney’s are regularly swept.
The frequency of sweeps will depend on the material being burned, with chimneys over wood fires needing more regular sweeps than those with coal or oil. With an extended winter season, additional sweeps may also be required. It is also important that seasoned wood is burned to keep tar deposits, in chimneys or liners, to a minimum."
With thatched properties sweeping is not only an essential safety requirement that should never be ignored but also in the majority of cases a requirement by the insurance companies.
WHY NEST REMOVAL?
Birds build their nests deep down in the chimney to protect their eggs from the elements and of course they use twigs or sticks, dead leaves, grass clippings or dead grass, feathers etc all of which are highly combustible and a key cause of chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Chimney related (90%)
Discarded cigarettes and outside fire sources Source: Norwich Union Risk Services - an Aviva Company.
Woodburners generate a lot of heat, even up the flue. Check with your insurance company regarding your cover in relation to stoves and open fires.
Always take professional advice on the stove and flue lining and get it installed by a reputable supplier.
Traditionally chimneys in older thatched cottages were used with open fires, which generate cooler flue gas temperatures. If poorly maintained the chimney can still be a fire risk. House owners should take advice from their insurer regarding having the chimney lined.
Open fires generate less heat up the chimney but
flues are still recommended as professional advice.
Do not burn wet or unseasoned wood as it will leave greater tar deposits which increase the fire hazard.
Fire Safety Products
The fire risk (+ insurance premiums) may be reduced by the use of specialist products i.e. Fire retardant sprays, Fire retardant barriers, heat monitors and alarms.
Chimney fire causes
When a multi fuel or word-burning stove is in use, the temperature of the flue lining can reach levels in excess of 200 degrees Celsius. The radiant heat will travel through the brickwork and accumulate in the thatch. If the temperature within the thatch reaches levels in excess of 180 degrees Celsius, the thatch can ignite.
To prevent this, a properly installed flue liner and regular sweeping is essential.
If a chimney liner is installed into a very tarry chimney and the liner is installed in such a way that it comes close to the tarry surface of the chimney, then the heat from the liner can cause the tar to combust causing chimney fires.
By burning unsuitable wet wood ( unseasoned ) in appliances can cause chimney fires.
Having a spark guard or similar on top as the cowl can not be cleaned unless removed and soot will cling to it’s cold surface. Should the cowl get sooty and catch fire then it may drop sparks onto the thatch.
By using the fire as a waste disposal means to burn household waste paper, etc.