Safety advice for holiday properties

Chilli Penguin Stoves - High & Mighty Eco
Chilli Penguin Stoves – High & Mighty Eco

With lockdown measures easing across the UK, we want to ensure holiday properties with wood-burning or multifuel stoves are ready for visitors. As the solid fuel safety organisation, we are advising that appliances are checked, and chimneys swept before guests arrive this year.

Safety measures

We recommend you have your chimney swept at least twice a year when burning wood and at least once a year when burning smokeless fuels. The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used for a prolonged period. If sweeping twice a year, the second time should be after the peak of the main heating season.

You must be aware of your responsibilities to mitigate the risk of fire in your hospitality premises. The consequences of not regularly sweeping and servicing your appliance can be devastating and costly. Additional safety measures such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be in place and functioning, check the instructions on your alarms for testing and maintenance routines.

Remember to provide the instruction manual for the appliance in a welcome pack to your guests. They may not be familiar with solid fuel appliances and any additional instructions you can provide will help them with correct use.

Don’t delay and risk a chimney fire when your guests arrive this year and make sure you use a professional to do the job for you. The HETAS website has handy postcode searches for servicing technicians and chimney sweeps.

The right fuel

Make sure you select a fuel type that matches your appliance’s operating instructions and warranty for a long, reliable, and safe service.

If you use wood fuel, it is preferable to burn hardwoods such as beech and ash, instead of softwoods like pine or fir. This is because hardwoods take longer to burn so you will use less fuel. Wet logs will not only damage your stove but can release harmful particulates into the air in your home and outside. Also, it is very inefficient as the fire must boil off the water in the wood before any heat is provided into your room.

Ready to Burn

The Ready to Burn certification scheme for solid fuels will underpin The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 and will come into force in England from 1st May 2021. The new legislation includes measures that will phase out the supply of the most polluting fuels used in homes. 

From May 2021, wood sold in volumes of up to 2m³ will need to be Ready to Burn certified as having a moisture content of up to 20%. Suppliers selling larger quantities will need to provide customers with clear instructions on storing and seasoning so it is dry to burn.

The new law will also see changes to the sale of manufactured solid fuels. These fuels will need to meet certain standards to be listed as Ready to Burn from 1 May 2021. A “manufactured solid fuel” means a fuel produced from coal, wood, plant-derived materials, waxes, or petroleum products with other ingredients.

If you have your own firewood supply, there are steps you can take to properly season and check the moisture content. Some top tips are available at www.woodsure.co.uk. Woodsure is the UK’s woodfuel certification scheme and the administrators of the Ready to Burn firewood scheme.

What next

Whilst the regulations are focused on the domestic market, you know by choosing Ready to Burn firewood or solid fuel that your guests have the right fuels to use.

Use the HETAS website to find chimney sweeps, servicing technicians and more to keep your guests safe.

You can also find suppliers and more about choosing the right firewood by visiting www.woodsure.co.uk

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