Stay Safe and Warm
The UK has just faced another round of severe storms, such as recent Storms Eunic, Franklin, Corrie and Malik, it’s essential for stove and fire owners to ensure the safety and functionality of their chimneys before firing them up again. Storms can wreak havoc on your woodburner and chimney, potentially causing structural damage and other issues that need immediate attention. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to inspect and maintain your woodburner after stormy weather.
Check for Damage to the Masonry
One of the first things to inspect is the structural integrity of your chimney’s masonry. Storms, especially those with gale force winds like Storm Eunice, can subject your chimney to tremendous forces. Look for any visible cracks, loose bricks, or signs of shifting. A damaged chimney could not only render your woodburner unusable but also pose a significant safety risk. If you notice any damage, it’s crucial to address it promptly. In some cases, you may need professional chimney repair services to ensure the chimney is safe for use.
Check for Dislodged Material in the Chimney
Gusts of wind during a storm can create havoc inside your chimney. Soot, creosote, and other materials may be dislodged and fall down the chimney, accumulating on the register plate at the bottom. Excessive debris can restrict airflow, hinder proper combustion, and even pose a fire hazard. After the storm, inspect the chimney’s interior for any accumulated debris. Safely remove any build-up to ensure the chimney functions optimally.
Inspect the Cowl or Birdcap
At the top of your chimney, you’ll likely have a cowl or birdcap. Storms can cause these protective covers to become loose or, in extreme cases, even fall off completely. A missing or damaged cowl can lead to issues like rainwater or debris entering your chimney, affecting its efficiency and safety. After the storm has passed, carefully examine the cowl or birdcap to ensure it’s secure and in good condition. If it’s damaged or missing, replace it promptly to prevent future problems.
During a storm, avoid attempting any repairs on your roof or chimney. Safety should always be your top priority. Wait until the storm has passed and the conditions are safe before conducting a thorough inspection. If you’re uncertain about any damage or feel uncomfortable assessing the chimney yourself, we would strongly recommend hiring a professional chimney sweep or technician to conduct a comprehensive evaluation. Remember, a well-maintained chimney is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of your woodburner. If you discover any issues that require repair or replacement, don’t hesitate to seek the necessary supplies or professional assistance.