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9 Ways To Avoid A Thatched Roof House Fire

thatched cottage

17/10/2017, Joanne Louhaich, Managing Director

How To Keep Your Thatched Roof Property Fire Free

Did you know that thatched roof fires are no more common than any other type of house fire? In fact, over 90% of thatch roof fires start as a direct result of using an open fire, wood burning or multi fuel stove.

In addition to that, you may know that a thatch is designed to repel water making it difficult extinguishing a fire. However, none of this should ever put you off owning a beautiful thatched roof home. It just takes a little common sense. So, in this post today, we are going to walk you through our 9 simple ways you can avoid a fire in your thatched house.


1. Get It Swept

Probably the most important thing to consider when you first buy a thatched roof property is when were all the working chimneys & flues last swept by a professional. Thatched roof materials are designed to repel water making fires difficult to control. It is highly recommended by most surveyors that all wood burning and multi fuel stoves should be checked by a HETAS engineer at least once a year for a fire risk assessment.

In terms of getting your chimney swept, the general rule of thumb is once a year for smokeless fuel, oil and gas and every six months for all other types of fuel. Find this information out and then once you buy you can continue to ensure you are reducing the risk of the chimney catching light.


2. Get It Checked

Get a CCTV survey completed on all working chimneys, liners and flues every three years to check for any damage or faults. If you are buying a new property, find out when the last CCTV report was done.


3. Get It Lined

Chimneys & flues should be lined in accordance with ‘The Building Regulations Approved Document J Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems.’ This needs to be down by a professional and then checked every three years (as above.) If it hasn’t been done, check on the Thatch Advice Line for professional installation.


4. Bin It Don’t Burn It

Using your fire as an incinerator is a bad habit many people get in to. Throwing even a small piece of paper onto an open fire, can eject from the chimney as a burning ember meaning your thatch roof is at a great risk of catching alight.


5. Seasoned Wood

Did you know that burning unseasoned wood encourages a build-up of tar deposits in your chimney increasing the risk of fire? Burning seasoned wood instead where the sap and tar content is substantially lower, reduces that build-up deposits in the chimney.


6. Keep The Bonfires & BBQ’s At a Safe Distance

It’s a bit of a no-brainer but always make sure that you are a safe distance away from your thatched roof when lighting your BBQ. The same goes for bonfires, fire pits, chimeneas and incinerators. Just make sure you are as far away as possible with any wind blowing away from the roof.


7. Electrics

Make sure that your electrics are up to date and you have a current and satisfactory “Electrical Installation Certificate” (EIC). Recessed lighting can get extremely hot so ensure that fire protection covers are fitted.


8. Fire Extinguishers

Have a least one CO2 (minimum 2KG) fire extinguisher on each floor of your home and a fire blanket in the kitchen. These can be inexpensive to find. Just make sure it is checked and approved by current standards.


9. Escape

Sometimes prevention isn’t enough so should the worst happen have an escape plan. Keep access areas clear always and make sure windows can be easily accessed and opened in the event of a fire.


What to do next

If you want to know more about fire risk with a thatched roof property, thatched roof insurance or you have any other questions about insurance, you can either drop us a line using our online form or give us a call on 01285 885 885.

Alternatively you can find out more information from the Thatch Advice Centre. Here is a link to their current Thatch Fire Safety Leaflet.


What to do next:

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Recommended reads:

What we want to tell you about buildings and content insurance

What you should know about thatched roof insurance

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#Thatched-Buildings #thatch-roof-fires

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