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If you think that chimney sweeps belong in Victorian times, you might be surprised to learn that many homes still require the services of a professional chimney sweep on a regular basis. This specialist job has changed over the years and is no longer the hazardous occupation it once was; however, it still requires a high level of training and experience.

If you have a real fire, you probably already know that you should have your chimney professionally cleaned by a chimney sweep at least once a year but ideally twice a year if burning wood or log products. Some people choose to do this in the summer when the fireplace has been out of use for a long time, while others opt to do it towards the end of winter before the fire is out of use for a period of several months. As long as you stick to annual sweepings, it is really up to you when you arrange your appointments.

Gas fires

Many people who have gas fires do not realise that they need to have their chimneys swept. While it is not usually necessary to have this done every year, as in the case of a real fire, you should ensure your chimney is swept occasionally. All chimneys can get blockages, which in the worst case scenario can lead to carbon monoxide and other gases building up inside the home. If you are installing a new gas fire into a chimney that has previously been used with a solid fuel fire, you should ask a chimney sweep to take a look first.

What does a chimney sweep do?

When hiring a chimney sweep for the first time, be sure to ask what is included in the service. You will, of course, be expecting to have your chimney cleaned and to have any debris removed. Chimney sweeps should also perform some checks. A good chimney sweep will assess your chimney to make sure it is in decent condition and provides adequate ventilation. Using a chimney sweep regularly can help to prevent fires in the chimney and ensure your fireplace is operating efficiently.

You might be tempted to save a bit of cash and try to clean your chimney yourself, but this is not a good idea. An experienced sweep will be able to spot signs of early damage or wear and tear that you are unlikely to notice. Cleaning a chimney is a messy and difficult job that is much better left to the experts. A NACS registered chimney sweep will adhere to a strict code of conduct & issue a certificate to ensure that is done cleanly & safely

Posted By Paul Smith

Christmas is well and truly over and while it might not be spring for another couple of months, it is never too early to start spring cleaning; in fact, with January traditionally being a quiet month after the excitement of the festive period, it is a great time to take stock and get on with those household chores you have been neglecting, such as cleaning your wood burning stove. Your stove is likely to be in heavy use at this time of year, so choose a milder day when you can live without it for a few hours and make sure it has completely cooled down from the last use before you start cleaning it.

Maintenance

You should remove excess ash whenever there is a substantial build-up, so it is a good idea to check your stove after periods of prolonged or near-constant use. Remove all the excess ash by using a vacuum with a suitable attachment. A hand-held model can be useful for this; alternatively, a regular vacuum with a narrow attachment works well and is likely to pack a more powerful punch. When you have cleared out the ash, use a soft brush to clean the fire bricks. While you are doing this, be sure to check for cracks or other sign of damage. You can buy specialist cement to repair minor cracks; however, any bricks showing major damage will need replacing.

Cleaning the glass

You can clean your glass with scrunched-up newspaper, which is a great way to get the worst of the soot and dirt off the surface. Once you have done this, use a soft cloth with a suitable wood burning stove glass cleaner. You will find these available at many fireplace retailers, DIY stores, and even some larger supermarkets. Don't make the mistake of using an all-purpose cleaner unless it explicitly states you can use it in your wood burner. When you have cleaned the glass, check carefully for any cracks or other signs of damage. Cracked glass will need replacing before it gets any worse. Some stoves allow you to easily remove the glass for thorough cleaning, so check your user manual if you are not sure how to do this.

Checking the seal

The final thing to do is check the stove's door seal for signs of wear and tear. If it is coming loose or showing signs of damage, it will need replacing; if not, your stove is good to go again!

Posted By Paul Smith

With so many styles of fireplace available today, it can be hard to know where to start when you are looking to replace your existing one. Unless you are completely overhauling your room's style, you will want to opt for a fireplace that sits well with your existing decor.

This guide outlines some of the most popular fireplace styles to help you identify which type will best complement your home.

Contemporary fireplaces

If your home is a new-build or you favour a modern style with contemporary furnishings and decor, you will want a fireplace that complements your choices. Modern and contemporary fireplaces tend to be less ornate than more traditional designs, giving you a cleaner, sleeker finish. Chrome is currently a very popular choice in fireplaces and works well with all colours. Electric fires are also a great choice for modern homes, delivering the welcoming ambience of a traditional fire but with a contemporary twist. Depending on your colour scheme, black can work very well in modern surroundings.

Traditional fireplaces

Traditional fireplaces work well in period properties, no matter the size or age. Unless your property has been extensively modernised over the years, more contemporary designs will look out of place in your home. For the ultimate traditional fireplace, a real fire is hard to beat, but this is not possible or practical in many cases. Traditional gas fires work well in period homes and you will find them available in a huge array of styles and sizes and at a wide range of price points. Cast iron inserts and other accessories enable you to enjoy the look and feel of a real fire while taking advantage of the convenience of gas. Here at the Fireplace Warehouse, we have a huge selection of traditional fires.

Wall-hung fires

These have become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason - they are easy to use, they look striking, and they take up very little space. While they might appear to be better suited to modern homes, they can also work well in older properties in rooms that do not have an existing fireplace. While you can get gas wall-hung fires, most wall hung fires are electric. One big advantage of this style of fire is that it does not dominate the room, meaning you will barely notice it is there unless it is switched on. Once you do switch it on, you will have a stunning focal point that instantly creates a warm, cosy atmosphere.

Posted By Paul Smith

If you are looking for fuel efficiency, a stylish finish and a space-saving fire solution, a hole in the wall gas fire could be the perfect choice for your home. As you might have guessed from the name, a hole in the wall gas fire fits into the space in a wall or chimney breast. There are hundreds of different styles and designs, meaning you will have no problem finding a model that perfectly complements your home's decor.

Benefits of hole in the wall gas fires

One of the biggest advantages of this style of fire is that they take up very little space. As they fit neatly into a hole in the wall or chimney breast, they don't take up valuable floor space and can make your room feel bigger. They are not only perfect for smaller rooms where space is at a premium but also look great in rooms of all sizes.

Another big plus is that this type of fire can be highly energy efficient, reducing waste and saving you money on your heating bills over time. The fire’s heat is transferred directly out into the room, keeping you at a comfortable temperature all year round. Hole in the wall gas fires are also very easy to clean, simply because there is very little surface area! They are usually fairly straightforward to install; however, as with all gas fires and appliances, you will need to use a Gas Safe registered engineer for installation and maintenance.

Who can have a hole in the wall gas fire?

This type of fire is suitable for a wide range of properties. If your room already has a chimney, it is probably suitable for a hole in the wall gas fire. If your home does not have a chimney, it may still be possible for you to have this type of fire installed. Adding a balanced flue is a simple way to open up your options and enable you to choose from a wider range of fires. To do this, you will just need to have access to an exterior wall. There are regulations associated with installing a balanced flue, but most external walls are suitable.

Hole in the wall gas fires come is such a fantastic array of designs that you will be able to pick one that fits perfectly into your home. From sleek, contemporary, minimalistic designs to more traditional finishes, the choices are endless.

Posted By Paul Smith

If you live in a house or flat without a chimney, there are still hundreds of fireplace options you can choose from. Perhaps you have a traditional chimney but want to install a fireplace in another room - such as a dining room - that doesn't have a chimney, or you might have a chimney that has been bricked up in the past and you don't want the expense or hassle of reinstating it.

Here are a few of your options if you want to add the warmth and glow of a fire to any room in your home without a working chimney.

Electric fires

Electric fires have come a long way in the past few years and there is now a design to suit every taste and space. Electric fires are clean, easy to install, and have the advantage of letting you switch the display on without heat if you want to create a cosy atmosphere but don't need the extra warmth of the fire function. Electric fires do not need to be fitted to a wall with outside access, making them extremely versatile and suitable for any space.

Twin wall flue fires

These fires do require access to the exterior of your property, so they might not be suitable for all rooms in the home. This is a great way to get a traditional stove into your property without the need for a chimney. The flue can be carried up through the roof space or directed through an exterior wall. If you don't want the flue pipe to be visible in your home, it can be hidden in a fake chimney breast or other brick work.

Flueless gas fires

Flueless gas fires do not need a chimney or flue, but you will obviously need to have a gas supply in the room and ensure the space is well ventilated. While this option means you can have a real gas fire in a room you might not have thought possible, you need to bear in mind that there is a minimum room size requirement for this type of fire; therefore, it is not suitable for very small rooms.

Balanced flue fires

As with the flueless gas fire, you will need a gas connection. You will also need access to an external wall for the flue to go outside. This is a very energy-efficient heating option, as heat loss is minimal. Balanced flue gas fires often feature glass fronts, which provide additional heat.

Posted By Paul Smith

Welcome to part two of our fireplace glossary. We have put this short guide together to explain some of the words you might see across our site and in our stores.

Hearth: This is the fireplace's base panel. It can be made from a variety of materials, including brick and stone. It is traditionally a safety feature to prevent house fires occurring; however, many modern hearths can also be extremely decorative.

LPG: This stands for liquid petroleum gas. It is used in place of natural gas, particularly in rural areas or where there is no supply from a gas main. Some fires and stoves can run on bottled LPG or natural gas from the mains. You must always ensure you are using the correct fuel for your fire or stove.

Marble: This is a natural stone, popular for its luxurious look and feel. It features a distinctive veining pattern and is a traditional choice for high-end fireplaces. It can be polished or unpolished, with a marble fireplace making an excellent focal point for any room.

Micro-marble: This is man-made and replicates the appearance of natural marble minus the veining pattern of the real thing. As it is man-made, micro-marble has a more consistent appearance than natural marble.

Multi-fuel stove: This type of stove enables you to use different types of fuel, such as coal, wood, peat or smokeless briquettes. Multi-fuel stoves are highly effective at supplying heat and are a great choice for anyone who wants the look, warmth and feel of a real fire with the convenience of a stove.

Smoke control area: There are smoke control areas in many parts of the UK. It is illegal to emit smoke from a chimney in these areas unless you are using an authorised fuel. Some appliances may be exempt from the smoke control laws. You can check whether you live in a smoke controlled area by contacting your local council. You can be fined if you break your area's smoke control laws.

If you have any questions or would like any further information about any of the fires, stoves or other products we sell, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Our team will be happy to help and provide advice on the best fireplace for your home. We stock a huge variety of fireplaces, stoves and accessories suitable for all budgets and tastes.

Posted By Paul Smith

Here at the Fireplace Warehouse, we know everything there is to know about fires. While we think our website has pretty much all the information you might need when you are buying a new fire, we appreciate some of the terms used might be new to our customers. We have put together a brief glossary of some of the terms you will come across on our site and in our stores to make it easier for you to choose the right fire for you.

Air vent: This is a legal requirement for some types of fires, such as solid fuel fires and gas fires. The air vent provides an air supply and lets your fire operate safely.

Balanced flue gas fire: This type of fire can be installed in a home that does not have a built-in chimney or flue, but has an outside wall that it can be mounted on. These fires are highly efficient and waste very little energy compared with many other fires.

Catalytic converter: This uses a catalyst to clean waste gas emitted from a fire. It ensures your fire runs more cleanly.

Convection heating: This is when warm air particles rise and cool particles fall into warmer areas. The process transfers warm air around your room.

DEFRA: This stands for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. You might notice some of our fires and stoves are labelled as DEFRA approved, which means they have been tested and are suitable for use in smoke controlled areas.

Efficiency: You will come across this word a lot in our product labels and descriptions. The more highly efficient a fire or heater is, the less energy and heat it wastes. An efficient model can help you to cut your energy bills and heat your home more effectively.

Electric fire: A fire that runs solely on electricity and does not require gas or solid fuel. They often simply need plugging into a wall socket, making installation extremely simple.

Flueless gas fire: This type of fire does not need a flue or chimney; instead, the gas passes through a catalytic converter. You will need to check the minimum room size for this type of fire, as it will need a certain amount of space and ventilation.

Gas Safe: The Gas Safe Register is the UK's official body for gas registration. You should make sure anyone you hire to install, maintain, check or remove a gas fire or any other gas appliance is on the Gas Safe Register.

Posted By Paul Smith

Electric fires are generally very safe and are easy to install and operate, making them increasingly popular in British homes. They require very little maintenance and usually operate efficiently for many years without any problems; however, as with all electrical appliances, you should bear in mind the following safety tips when using your electric fire.

Only buy accredited models

Any new electric fire you purchase should have a European or British safety mark. It is unlikely that you will find a fire in any major retailer without this mark these days, but it is always worth checking. Ask your retailer if you can't see what you are looking for.

Check wiring regularly

If you haven't used your fire for a while or have moved into a home with an electric fire, conduct a check of the wiring and plug. There shouldn't be any signs of wear and tear on the wire, so look for fraying or any other damage. Check the plug and make sure there are no scorch marks around the plug socket.

Never overload sockets

Overloading plug sockets is all too common as we try to cram all our electrical appliances and accessories into a convenient place. If possible, always plug your electric fire into a wall socket rather than using an extension plug or adaptor. If the nearest plug socket to your fire is already in use, it might be a good idea to get an electrician to add another socket specifically for your fire. This is usually a fairly simple and inexpensive job and can make your life much easier in the long run!

Unplug your fire when not in use

As with all these tips, this goes for most electrical appliances. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines when you purchase a new appliance and follow their advice to help you save energy and minimise the risk of a fire.

Don't use timer plugs

Many modern electric fires have handy settings that enable you to programme your fire and have it come on when you want. These are perfectly safe to use and can make life much more comfortable and convenient, especially in very cold periods; however, you shouldn't use your fire in conjunction with a timer plug. These are not intended to be used with electric fires, so avoid them.

If you are thinking of purchasing an electric fire and need any advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help.

Posted By Paul Smith

With so many types of fireplace to choose from, you might be confused about the best option for your home. In many cases, it is simplest to stick with what you already have and replace your old fire with a similar type. If you have a gas fire and fancy a change, however, or are installing a fire in a room where there is not one already, here are some reasons why electric might be the way to go.

Huge choice of designs

There are literally thousands of electric fires available for you to choose from. Whether your tastes are classic and you favour traditional fireplaces or you want something contemporary to complement your modern decor, you will find your perfect match.

Easy installation

Electric fires are incredibly easy to install and many models simply need plugging in. You can be enjoying the warmth and ambience of your new fire in a matter of minutes! Electric fires do not require a chimney, making them perfect for smaller rooms or modern homes that were built without a working chimney. You often don't even need a fireplace, so you can locate your fire in the most convenient spot for you.

Simple to use

Electric fires are designed to be easy to use and most can be operated at the flick of a switch. Many newer models even come complete with a remote control so that you can adjust the temperature and display from anywhere in the room - you don't even need to leave the sofa! Fires with thermostats are also useful, as they sense the temperature of your room and keep your home at your ideal heating level. This helps to prevent energy waste and keeps you comfortable at all times.

They are energy efficient

When you buy any new fire, you should easily be able to find out the energy efficiency rating of your chosen model. Choosing a highly rated electric fire helps to cut out energy waste and reduces your bills at the same time; in addition, it is better for the environment. Most electric fires give you the option of having the living flame display on even when the fire is not giving out any heat, which means you can add a warm and welcoming feel to your room at negligible cost. With gas fires, it is necessary to turn the heat on to get the same attractive display.

Posted By Paul Smith

Wooden fireplaces are incredibly popular at the moment, and for good reason. Wood, particularly oak, which is commonly used in fireplace surrounds, simply never goes out of style. It complements any decor, any colour scheme and any type of property. Whether you have a period home or a contemporary residence, wood is a timeless choice for a fire surround. The natural warmth and attractive appearance of wood work perfectly in all homes.

Rustic Wooden Fireplaces

If you favour a low-key, more rustic style, wood is the perfect choice for a fireplace. You might prefer something a little less polished in order to complement your natural and less formal style, so look for plain, chunky fireplaces without too much detail. If your ideal home style is rustic and laid-back, avoid anything with intricate carved detail or a high-sheen finish. Accessorise your wooden fireplace with a few large white pillar candles for a welcoming, cosy look.

Contemporary Wooden Fireplaces

If your property is a modern one, or at least has been renovated to look as such, you might want something fairly minimal with clean lines. If you have a carefully put together room and don't want your new fireplace to dominate its surroundings, opt for a compact and unobtrusive fireplace. Modern fireplaces look great with a few simple accessories - perhaps a silver picture frame or a sleek vase in a neutral colour.

Statement Wooden Fireplaces

If you like to make a statement with your fireplace - if you have a large room, for example, and want something to act as a focal point of your space - a wooden fireplace is a great way to do this. Wood is such a versatile material that it lends itself very well to all manner of styles. If you are looking for a statement fireplace, you might not feel that wood is dramatic enough. Of course, any large fireplace is going to act as a statement piece, but why not consider an intricate carved design? While these are not to everyone's taste, in large spacious rooms they can work incredibly well. Make sure they don't overpower the room, though, and be sure they will complement the rest of your decor. More intricate and detailed fireplaces don't tend to need much accessorising, as they already make a statement on their own, but a couple of plain picture frames or plants will do the job if you want to break up the fireplace a little.

Posted By Paul Smith
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