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Many of us still love a bit of character in a property. For those of us that do there are few better thoughts than a cosy night in front of a fire. During the winter when the air is cooler and the nights are longer a fire or wood burner really appeal. If your holiday home is able to offer this most British of things to those lucky enough to stay in your cottage over the coming months, then now is the time of the year to be getting your chimney swept and ready for action.
There are still approximately 4,000 chimney fires in the UK each year. The most common cause being that the flue has not been swept, or thoroughly cleaned. This particularly applies after long periods of inactivity, such as summer, when birds can often nest in the vicinity of your chimney and quickly cause a potentially serious blockage. So now really is the time to be cleaning yours.
How often should you have your chimney swept?
The answer depends largely on how often you use the wood burner. As it will be your guests, rather than you using it, a good tip is to keep track of how much wood you’ve supplied in order to establish just how much is being used.
If you and your guests light it infrequently, a general guideline is to have it swept once a year.
Is your fire being lit more frequently? Perhaps the location of your holiday cottage warrants lighting the fire most nights. Then it’s sensible to have your chimney swept twice a year. Before you start having fires in the autumn and then again half way through the winter months. This is also the case should you choose to burn more wood, than coal.
No matter what chimney or flue you have, they must be cleaned and maintained. Have your chimney swept at least once a year as a minimum requirement.
Communicating with your guests
Every fire is different, therefore it’s important that your guests are able to handle simple problems that may occur during their stay. As well as spot potentially dangerous situations before they arise.
It’s therefore sensible to leave clear instructions in your Welcome Folder. Not only on how to light and begin a fire, which many people will be already be familiar with. Also on solving common issues associated with a fire such as smoke coming into the room rather than the chimney. This can be caused by cold air within the chimney itself (particularly if the fire hasn’t been lit for some time). If this is the case then your guest will need to initially burn paper and kindling, in order to quickly increase the temperature inside the flue.
Leave clear instructions and suitable equipemt including a metal bin for disposing of ashes.
If your guests are unable to quickly address a fault the fire should be extinguished and remain unlit until a qualified chimney sweep has carried out his or her inspections and indicated it is now safe to do so.
Our holiday homeowners are covered for damage to their property as a result of fire. We also understand the potentially devastating financial impact having your holiday home unavailable for let as the result of a fire can have on your business. Our loss of income covers you for the potential loss of income you may suffer as a result of disruption or interruption caused by an insured event such as fire.
This means that should you lose trade then you’ll not have to pay the price of the loss of income. Losses through cancellations and periods of not being able to accept bookings will be picked up by your policy.
We also understand that repairs and maintenance after such an event won’t be immediate; that’s why our indemnity period extends to two years.
Be sure to consider closely the implacations of providing solid fuel fires in your fire safety risk assessment.
For more advice on the importance of having your holiday home chimney swept click the link below:
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.