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Fire Safety – FAQs

At Zip™, we take fire safety very seriously, and are often asked for advice on many wide-ranging topics such as whether a chimney needs sweeping or how a fire screen should be used. To make it easier, we have compiled our most frequently asked questions.

 

Q: How often should I have my chimney swept?

A: Frequency of sweeping can depend on a number of factors – our guidelines are:

  • Chimneys – once or twice a year
  • Smokeless fuel open fires – once a year
  • Bituminous house coal open fires – twice a year
  • Wood burning stoves – every 3 months during use

 

Q: How can I prevent creosote and tar buildup in my chimney?

A: To ensure that your chimney stays residue-free, use only dry wood and have your chimney swept on a regular basis. Using wet or damp wood or turf can lead to a buildup of creosote and tar, which must be removed. A hot fire can ignite residues and cause a chimney fire. Try Zip™ Soot reducer!

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Q: Where should I store my fire starters and fuel?

A: Firestarters should be kept in a cool and dry place far away from fire locations. While it may seem convenient to store them on the hearth next to the fire, this is a fire hazard. We recommend keeping our firestarters in a metal can away from food.

Wood, coal, and peat should be stored in a dry place with good ventilation so that any moisture can evaporate quickly, leaving only dry fuel. The wetter the fuel, the harder it will be to light.

 

Q: What is the right fuel for my stove?

A: Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.

 

Q: Do I need a good air supply?

A: For open fires, the chimney should provide enough air to help draw the fire. However, closed appliances like wood burners and stoves need adequate airflow to burn correctly. Make sure that your rooms with fires are well ventilated with fresh air. Sometimes a little draft from outside increases the performance of a fire, and sometimes the direction of the wind over the chimney pot can aid airflow. However, fires perform worse on windy days when the wind tends to blow down the chimney.

If you have double-paned or weather stripped windows, consider installing an air duct to allow fresh air into your room.

 

Q: What precautions should I take to ensure that my fire does not produce harmful gases?

A: Make sure your fire has enough oxygen to completely burn your fuels to prevent it from giving off harmful gases. To do this:

  • Make sure all chimneys are cleaned regularly and are kept clear of any obstructions.
  • Make sure stoves and appliances are professionally installed and that doors are sealed properly.
  • Never block vents or brick vents.

 

Q: How often do I need to remove ash from my fire?

A: Ash buildup may damage your appliance, so it is important to remove any ash before each new fire. Allow the ash to cool before cleaning out (ideally overnight). Ash from wood logs can be used as fertilizer for your garden. It contains 13 essential nutrients for good plant growth. It also helps to maintain a neutral soil condition.

Q: When should I use a fire screen?

A: Zip™ recommends using a fire screen with any open fire. Never leave an open fire unattended without placing a fire screen in front of the fire. Make sure that the fire screen is fireproof and not made of any flammable materials such as plastic or fabric.

Always place a fire screen over any appliance within reach of indoor pets and small children. Log burning stoves heat up to high temperatures and the glass also becomes extremely hot and can cause serious burning and blistering.

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