In the UK most who own a fireplace only use it for a few months each year. As the weather gets warmer the fireplace becomes an after thought as the warmer weather means our central heating and coal or wood burning fire aren’t required to heat our homes.

Whilst most people are guilty of the thinking that through the summer months the fire becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’, even though it is unused, there are things you need to do to make sure the stove is safe to use when autumn time rolls around again.

Open fireplaces that burn solid fuel need to have their grates and fireboxes cleaned thoroughly before they are left for the summer. Vacuum or use a dustpan to sweep all the ashes up and be sure to remove any creosote or soot built up on the walls or firebricks lining the firebox and lower parts of the chimney you can access.

Use a torch and handheld mirror to clear away the soot from the hard to reach areas and always wear gloves and a face mask when carrying out this work to help protect your skin and lungs from any ash dust or soot. Investing in safety glasses is also important to protect your eyes.

Check the firebricks for cracks and signs of damage. Small cracks can easily be repaired with fire cement and are best dealt with quickly, so they don’t develop into a much more serious problem. More significant damage can mean you will need to replace the entire fire brick, which is a more expensive and time-consuming option.

Plug gaps between the fireback and fire surround with fireproof rope or string to allow for the natural expansion and contraction between the two surfaces.

Properly cleaning and maintaining your fireplace in the downtime months will mean you won’t encounter any problems when it comes to relighting your fires. For coal merchants in Stockport contact Pearson Fuels today.

 

Outdoor firepits can really transform an outdoor space into somewhere everyone wants to spend time. In summer it is nice for cooking on and sitting round into the night; at other times of the year it also makes a nice gathering point for you and guests.

They provide warmth, spark creativity and discussion, ignite passion and provide a unique focal point for your garden, but if you are thinking of buying one, there are some things to consider:

Style

Styles of fire pits vary from basic metal bowls to elaborate, multi-level units that can be a combination of fire pit and beer cooler. Weighing up your budget alongside what you need is a good way to find that happy medium and provide you with the perfect fire pit.

Laws

Fire pits need to adhere to certain regulations; for example, they can’t be built on covered porches or be used under low branches or in windy areas. Always check with your homeowner’s association or city council for restrictions on outdoor fire pits, fireplaces and the burning of certain fuels.

Fuels

Most fire pits are either wood, propane or gas burning. Propane and gas are much neater than others but won’t provide you with that authentic crackling wood sound and smell. If you burn wood you will have to source and store a moderate stock pile whilst gas and propane are much easier to operate and ignite and you won’t have to deal with large storage spaces.

Materials

Always choose a material that will age well to extend the life of your investment. Cast aluminium is less likely to rust, whereas copper is highly fashionable but has a tendency to stain.

Cost

You can find a nice safe fire pit model for around £200 but depending on your budget you can go higher or lower than that. More expensive materials will drive up the cost but may save you money in the long run with their durability and easy-to-maintain nature. Deciding on whether you’re going to burn wood, propane or smokeless fuels will also influence the long-term costs.

If your fireplace hasn’t been used for a while it can become the perfect entry point for rodents such as, rats, mice and even squirrels in some cases, to find their way into your home. Houses are well constructed to keep these access points for small animals limited, after all, no one wants rodents making their way into their homes.

Rodents are eager to get inside your home to take advantage of the warmth and the food you have on offer. There are even some flying pests like bats and pigeons that can use your fireplace to build their nests.

Whilst some of these animals will use the fireplace to gain access to your home, some will only enter the fireplace, which can cause a number of problems. A number of chimney fires are started each year when the chimney becomes blocked by bird’s nests, which aren’t cleared out before the fires are lit at the start of winter.

The easiest and most effective way to keep animals out of your chimney is to close your flue after using your fireplace. Closing the flue may seem easy but it is a commonly overlooked task. Having a chimney cap installed will give you added protection if you ever forget to close the flue. Regular maintenance checks should be carried out by a professional throughout the year to ensure there are no cracks in which insects can enter. Opting for a door on the front of your fireplace can help seal off an entry point for insects and pests whilst also ensuring your own pets and children stay safe around the open fire.

Your store of firewood can also be the perfect place for insects to develop colonies. By storing your firewood off the ground, and burning your oldest firewood first, you can keep pests from being able to multiply in your stores.

Contact Pearson Fuels for all your house coal and firewood needs.