Category Archives: Safety

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Coronavirus

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During this difficult and uncertain time we are happy to say that we are still operating a limited service. We are now only able to attend your property for emergency situations, this is where there is and issue with heating, a danger to property or your insurance provider require it.

Our visit will be subject to social distancing rules and we will wear full PPE during our visit. Unfortunately we will not be able to attend your property if you are self isolating due to you or someone in your home having Covid-19

Please contact us on 07415 449800 if you have any questions about our services during the lockdown.


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Smoke Control Legislation

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The Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 were introduced to deal with the huge smog problems of the 50s and 60s. The Acts give local authorities the power to control emissions of smoke, grit, dust and fumes. One of the powers the Acts confer is the right to declare ‘smoke control areas’ in which emissions of smoke from domestic properties are banned.

These Acts together with associated Clean Air legislation were consolidated into the Clean Air Act 1993 which provide the current legislation.

You can contact your local authority to see if you live in a smoke control area. The maximum fine for emitting smoke in a control area is £1000 for each offence.


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Burning your Christmas Tree – is it safe?

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Well Christmas is well and truly over, but how many of you still have your dead Christmas tree hanging about waiting to be disposed of? Perhaps you are thinking that burning it will be a lot easier than dragging it into the car and down to the tip? Unfortunately burning your Christmas tree is not such a good idea.

The needles and branches of fir trees contain substances which have a very high energy content, if you burn these in your fireplace or wood burner it could lead to a chimney fire. The trunk is not quite as risky, however you do need to dry this wood out completely in order for it to be safe to burn. For more details on drying your firewood read my blog

It is also worth bearing in mind that fir wood (also pine and spruce) creates a lot of creosote which can built up inside your chimney and cause fires


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Your Festive Fireplace

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The image of a beautiful fireplace dressed for Christmas with boughs of holly and ivy and stockings hung with care is a well known Christmas staple, but are you aware that your seasonal decorations could be a fire risk! Here are some tips to help you stay safe over Christmas

 

  • Your Christmas tree should be at least 3 feet away from your fireplace.
  • Ensure your real tree is watered regularly to prevent it drying out and causing more fire risk
  • If you are placing candles on your mantle ensure they are always supervised and extinguished correctly
  • When dressing your mantle with greenery ensure the boughs do not drape in front of the opening
  • If hanging stockings ensure they do not block the opening and where possible use non-flammable materials
  • Use a fire guard to prevent sparks dropping on to your festive fireplace adornments

Yes the fireplace in this image is an accident waiting to happen!


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Keeping your fireplace safe for all the family

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If you don’t have children then although fireplace safety is still and issue it is not as difficult as it is for those who do, but at Christmas little visitors are much more likely, so here are some tips to keep little ones safe around your fire

 

  1. Get a fire safety gate that you can put up when smaller family members visit.
  2. As Christmas presents get unwrapped do not burn the paper in the fireplace – coloured papers can release toxic fumes when burnt
  3. Don’t keep your Christmas gifts too close to the fire
  4. Make sure you take the time to carefully explain the dangers of the fire to little visitors

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Bin that Ash

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How often do you clean out the ash? Once a week, once a month, once a season? Our advice is to remove the ash after each burning. Hot or cooling ash can be a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. Here are our tips for cleaning out your ash

 

  • Let ash cool for sufficient time after a fire and keep your stove door closed
  • Use appropriate equipment, including safety gloves
  • Use a galvanised steel or metal ash can or bucket that can be sealed to collect the ash
  • Take your time to avoid spreading ashes across the room
  • Carefully transport the container outside of your home
  • Dispose in a designated area
  • Do not collect ash in a bucket in your home for any period of time

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DR21 Vent featured on Dragons Den

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We were very excited to see fellow HETAS registered installer David Gattie featured on Dragon’s Den recently, although they were not successful their new vent solution is very innovative and has been approved by HETAS.

 

The DR21 Air Vent uses a labyrinth baffling system which regulates air slow. It ensures there is enough air flow for a stove to burn efficiently, but does not cause annoying drafts in your room. Unfortunately this side effect causes some people to block standard air vents, which is a real safety concern.

 

We wish David all the best with his new product and are hoping to use the DR21 Air Vent on a new installation soon.


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What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

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Carbon Dioxide is a colourless, odourless gas which is extremely poisonous. CO has result which your solid fuel burner is malfunctioning or even from burning the fuel incorrectly. If you have a solid fuel burner or fire in your open it is advisable to be familiar with the symptoms of CO poisoning, which are

  • Headaches
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Chest Pains
  • Stomach Pains
  • Visual Problems

If you suspect that CO is escaping from your combustion appliance or your CO alarm goes off follow these steps

  • Turn the appliance off
  • Open doors and windows for ventilation
  • Leave the building and wait for the air to clear
  • If you feel unwell, go to the doctor or hospital
  • Before you use the appliance contact an approved HETAS Registered Installer (like us)
  • Do not use the appliance until you are told it is safe

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Are you checking your CO Alarm?

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Carbon Monoxide is an extremely poisonous gas that can be present in the fumes of wood, gas, oil or biomass fuels which is not burnt correctly. The gas is colourless and odourless making it difficult to detect.

If you have a solid fuel burner you must have a CO alarm fixed is a permanent position in the same room as the appliance. As a registered HETAS installer we are fully aware of the all of the regulations regarding positioning your CO alarm.

We recommend testing your CO Alarm every week and we would also suggest that you familiarise yourself with the symptoms of CO poisoning (Read Carbon Monoxide Poisoning)


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Building Regulations

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Did you know that your unique solid fuel, wood or biomass appliance may not comply with Building Regulations? If your installer isn’t aware of the regulations you may be in breach of them and even worse putting yourself, your home and family at risk.

As a HETAS Approved Installer we know all the points to consider, which include:

  • Following the relevant Building Services Compliance guide. For example a domestic solid fuel dry room heater (Cat E1 to E3) must have gross efficiency of at least 65%
  • The appliance must be correctly sized to meet optimum efficiency
  • Flues and hearths must be correctly positioned for the specification of the appliance
  • Manufacturers clearance distances to combustibles must be maintained.