Essex Chimney Sweeps

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BurnRight campaign launched

This campaign has the potential to change our industry, it needs to. The initial feedback has been excellent, in fact it’s unprecedented as it is already uniting sweeps and others from all parts of the solid fuel industry.

What is BurnRight?

As professional sweeps, we are all too aware of how incorrect appliance operation can not only tar up the chimney, the birdguard etc. but also heavily impact on the environment, causing unnecessary air pollution. For every gram of tar in the chimney there have been kilos of it going out the top!! In addition, it’s a waste of our customer’s money. The Government are reviewing their whole clean air strategy and domestic burning will be in the spotlight. We don’t know what might happen. That’s why we’ve decided to do something about it. We launched BurnRight at the Guild Exhibition in early March. It is a national consumer awareness campaign to help people understand how to use their stove properly. Wet wood can be an issue but the way the stove is controlled has a much larger impact. The campaign explains the benefits to us all. Chimney sweeps in particular are the only group with the opportunity and motivation to make a real difference. We visit each year, we know the stove and chimney, we see the fuel, how it’s stored and we see what comes down the chimney. We can ask questions and advise our customers. This job can only be done one customer at a time. If you are not working with your customer to improve their burning habits then no-one else is. The campaign is deliberately independent of any trade association or company. We are asking sweeps and others in the industry to spread the word to consumers. Poor stove operation and the effect on air quality is an industry wide problem and BurnRight is an industry wide solution.

What is on the BurnRight site?

There are two sets of information on the BurnRight site – Trade Information and consumer information. The Trade Information page password is burnright. It gives you a background to the whole issue, why it is important that you know what is happening, what you can do etc. There is a video presentation (soon to be updated). There are articles and documents to help you understand the problem as well as download press release templates to make it easy for you to spread the word and generate local publicity for your company. You can download the BurnRight logos from this section.

Consumer information pages are to the point and take your customer straight to the issues that matter. There is simple guidance for correct operation of their stove. There is also lots of excellent information on “Getting it right” video, wood as fuel, tools, top tips, FAQ’s etc. This information is all very accessible to the viewer and they can easily pick out what is relevant to them.

Why get involved?

Getting it right means your customer will:

• Save money
• Have a safer cleaner chimney
• Prolong the life of their chimney and stove
• Have a more enjoyable burning experience
• Create significantly less air pollution

If your customer gets it right then you will:

• Look more professional and be more appreciated
• Gain more repeat business
• Gain more referral business
• Have an easier job next year
• Save time explaining all the information again
• Add value to your service – charge more? Sell more?
• Have a direct effect on air quality where you live

What to do now

All stove users need the BurnRight information. Even if they are burning well there will be something for them so we need to get them to the site. You need to go to the Trade Information page and see the information for you there. The password is burnright – www.burnright.co.uk

• See the video presentation on the Trade Information page (this video was created before BurnRight and will be updated soon)
• Give your customer the simple BurnRight flyer, coming soon.
• Download the press release templates on the Trade Information page. Check out the handy Press release Guide to ensure your business gets the best from any coverage.
• Download the simple “Card Sheet” – cut it up and hand them out.
• When discussing stove control and wood burning with your customer, text or email them the link to the site. Get it up on their tablet.
• Link to pages on the BurnRight website from your own site e.g. Want them to know the benefits of a stove fan or moisture meter? Send them to the “Save Money” page
• Signpost your customers to the site in your emails / leaflets
• Download the BurnRight logos for your own use.
• The “BurnRight “We all breathe the same air” digital document can be viewed online or downloaded. It contains all the information in a single document.

This brochure is also available in a printed version for your customers who don’t use the internet.

Flyer

We are producing inexpensive A5 flyers, available to you at cost. Give one to each customer during your visit. Along with your professional advice, this will be a great way to get people to the information on the BurnRight website.

We want your Blog

We’re also looking for sweeps to come forward with on-site cases of poor burning and perhaps what then happens when the customer gets it right. We will credit you if you want and use it on the Burn Right blog. Ideally, it’ll include photos and brief details of the situation. These can be emailed directly to burnrightcampaign@gmail.com The site is evolving and improving every week, what you see now is just the beginning. If you see anything which you feel could be amended or improved, please let us know.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/BurnRightUK
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/burnrightcampaign

By in Essex Chimney Sweep Articles 0

Chimney and Thatch Fires

What causes a chimney fire with reference to thatched properties, particularly when a chimney liner is installed?
  • Having a spark guard or similar on top can cause soot to build up due to sudden cooling and slowing of the flue gasses. Should the cowl get sooty and catch fire it can drop sparks onto the thatch. A spark arrestor cannot be cleaned properly unless removed. Please check with your insurer whether they require you to have one or not.
  • 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 internal tarry surface of the chimney, the heat from the liner can cause the tar to spontaneously combust causing a chimney fire.
  • If a chimney liner is not swept often enough or properly this can obviously cause a chimney fire.
  • When the heat travelling up the liner goes into the narrowing of the chimney (through the roof), the heat from the liner can be transmitted through the brickwork and out under the thatch. Thatch is an excellent insulator and the heat can increase. This can cause a thatch fire.
  • If register plates are made of combustible material or there is combustible material within the chimney a fire or other dangerous situation can occur.
  • Installing the wrong type of liner for the fuel type being used can cause chimney fires.
  • Burning wet wood in can cause chimney fires due to increased tar / creosote deposits inside the chimney. Use logs with a moisture content of less than 20%.
  • Using the fire to dispose of waste
  • If the flue liner or any other part of the system is installed incorrectly the result can be chimney fire or leakage of poisonous gasses.
[Article source: www.guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk]
By in Essex Chimney Sweep Articles 0

Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed!

If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning get urgent medical advice and do not use your appliance until it has been checked by a competent person.

Beware of the silent killer, HSE’s reminder during CO Awareness week
Carbon monoxide awareness
Law and HSE enforcement

Carbon Monoxide and solid fuel

Many people think that carbon monoxide only comes from gas appliances but the truth is that ANY fuel that burns creates carbon monoxide.

By now we should all know that carbon monoxide is a very dangerous, colourless, odourless gas, all appliances installed since 1st October 2010 must have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in the same room.

But for a little better understanding, let’s take a quick trip back to high school chemistry class. The fuels you burn for home heating are mostly compounds known as hydrocarbons (hydrogen + carbon). In your appliance these hydrocarbons are mixed with oxygen and burned to produce heat. When your appliance and chimney are working properly, the fuel is burned more or less completely and the resulting fumes are mainly carbon dioxide (carbon + 2 oxygen atoms) and water vapour. If your appliance doesn’t get enough oxygen, either because the house is too air tight or the chimney isn’t functioning properly, carbon monoxide (carbon +1 oxygen atom) is produced instead. It’s the lack of that one little oxygen atom that causes all the trouble.

What carbon monoxide does to you

Too much carbon monoxide in your blood will kill you. Most of us know we should avoid this. Less well known is the fact that low-level exposure to this gas also endangers your health.

In the body the red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. It can do this because the chemical bonds between the oxygen and the hemoglobin are weak enabling the red cells to easily drop the oxygen where it is needed. Carbon monoxide forms a more permanent bond with hemoglobin which cannot normally be broken and prevents the blood transporting oxygen to the body tissues.

The side effects that can result from this low-level exposure include permanent organ and brain damage. Infants and the elderly are more susceptible than healthy adults, as are those with anemia or heart disease.

The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning are so easily mistaken for those of the common cold, flu or exhaustion that proper diagnosis can be delayed. Because of this, be sure to see your doctor about persistent, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue or generalized depression.

Why chimney maintenance is important

When fuels burn in an appliance, the fumes that are the by-products of combustion-including carbon monoxide – are released into the chimney. Removing these fumes from the living area is the main purpose of a chimney. In addition to carrying off toxic gases, chimneys also create the draught (flow of air) that provides the proper air and fuel mixture for efficient operation of the heating appliance. Unfortunately, many chimneys in daily use in homes throughout the country either are improperly sized or have conditions that make them unable to perform their intended function.

Chimneys servicing gas appliances need to be cleaned annually

As well as making sure that all gas appliances are serviced annually it is also the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the flue ways are cleaned annually by a qualified chimney sweep. To help stop the vast amount of people dying each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, the health and safety executive has documentation stating that all gas flues need to be swept annually by qualified chimney sweeps and that this responsibility cannot be passed on to the tenant.

Additional info
Carboxyhaemoglobin % Symptom
0-10 None
10-20 Tightness across forehead
20-30 Headaches
30-40 Severe headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting
40-50 Coma, intermittent convulsions
60-70 Depressed heart action, death possible
70-80 Weak pulse, slowed respiration, death likely
>80 Death in minutes.
[Article source: www.guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk]
By in Essex Chimney Sweep Articles 0

Landlord and Tenant advice

Should a chimney fire occur then many thousands of pounds could be lost in damage and loss of earning potential while the house is repaired. Not to mention any claim that a tenant may make.

For a long time Landlords / agents have been unable to put a clause in a tenancy agreement stating that the tenant is responsible for maintaining solid fuel heating systems as this is described as a unfair contract term (Office of fair trading 2005). So you cannot get your tenant to discharge your duty of care for you.

If the landlord looks after a solid fuel appliance then they would have discharged their duty of care towards their tenants and would be keeping their own property safe from unnecessary fire risks and unwanted legal claims.

Remember as a landlord you have a legal duty of care to your tenant/s and as such blocked flues that subsequently cause death could result in the landlord being tried for criminal negligence or in extreme cases a manslaughter prosecution may arise.

Law and HSE enforcement

[Article source: www.guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk]