Heating and fire

Heating and fire

Heaters and fires can come in several different varieties and forms. From industrial, high powered gas heaters to smaller electric fan blowers, no matter what type of heater you have, caution must be exercised.

Portable heating appliances

  • Never sit too close to the heater as you could set light to your clothes or chair, especially if you fall asleep
  • Heaters should stand where they can't be knocked over, away from beds, furniture and fabrics
  • Do not put anything on the heater or use it to dry clothes
  • Make sure all heaters are guarded, particularly if you have children
  • Never try to move any portable heater while it is alight/switched on - always turn it off and allow it to cool first

Gas heaters

  • Ensure the heater conforms to British Standards, and have it serviced regularly
  • When changing a gas heater cylinder, try to do this in open air. Otherwise, open windows and doors to increase ventilation. Check that the valve on the empty cylinder is closed before disconnecting it and do not turn on the valve of the new cylinder until it is securely connected to the heater
  • Store spare cylinders upright and outside whenever possible. Never store them in basements, under stairs or in cupboards containing electric meters or equipment

Open fires and chimneys

  • Have the chimney swept before lighting the first fire of winter
  • Don't allow soot or ash to build up
  • Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure it is sound and that sparks or fumes can't escape through cracks or broken bricks
  • Use a fireguard
  • Don't overload the grate or build fires too high; let fires burn down well before going to bed; and check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for sparks or embers
  • Burn the recommended fuels only - see guidance frequencies below

Regular maintenance requirements of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn -

  • Smokeless coals: at least once a year
  • Wood: up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal: twice a year
  • Oil: once a year
  • Gas: once a year