Traditional open fires look great, but they need to be well maintained in order to work efficiently
If you are ready to light a fire, you will have had your chimney swept twice (during the ‘burning season’) to avoid dangerous flue fires and to make sure that smoke rises up, and not into the room. You will also have visited uksmokecontrolareas.co.uk to find out what kind of fuel if any, you can burn in your area.
If you are unsure whether, structurally, your chimney is up to the smoke, the National Fireplace Association help you arrange to have a survey done, you might need to re-line the inside of your chimney. Open fires need a constant supply of oxygen and an escape vent for smoke (in other words a fit, functioning chimney). Good ventilation is key, as the fire must draw new air in, so that hot gases can get out. So to ensure your chimney is working at optimum level, make sure it’s clean.
To find qualified, insured chimney sweeps (are there any other kind we ask?) contact the Guild of Master Sweeps. Expect to pay around a £30 call-out fee, depending on where you live (geographically), and whether we are talking stately home with a very tall chimney, or cosy bungalow with a modest one.
Think about installing a bird guard (birdsave.co.uk, from £25), which as the name suggests, prevents birds, but also vermin, leaves and rubbish, from entering your chimney.
When everything is up and running, always use a fire screen when the room is unoccupied.