Generally thatched properties are listed buildings so any major work needs to be approved. Also many thatched properties are very old and behind a solid looking façade there may be years of neglect to the fabric of the building especially the chimney.
- Have your Chimney inspected by a HETAS engineer.
- Sweep your chimney twice a year and ensure spark arrestors are also cleaned.
- Ensure the top of your chimney is 1.8m above the level of the thatch.
- If in doubt have your chimney re-built.
Open Fires or Enclosed Appliances
Open fires draw plenty of cool air into the chimney where an enclosed fire burns efficiently the flue gases reach temperatures which heat the chimney to a level where the thatch can catch fire.
- Burn only quality fire wood with a moisture content of 20% or less.
- Do not fit a flexi flue liner.
- Have your thatcher inspect and fit a heat sink to the chimney.
- Always ask for professional advice.
Faulty or inappropriate electrical installations are the second largest cause of serious thatch fires.
- Have your wiring tested by a qualified electrician.
- All electrical wiring in the roof space should be in vermin proof conduit.
- Lights in the roof space should be bulkhead type.
- Any security lighting around the property should be at least 1m away from the thatch.
Bonfires, Fireworks and Barbecues
Check your thatch insurance, it may impose rules about fires near your property.
If a fire is essential:
- Keep it away from your thatch.
- Have it on a windless day.
- Never use accelerants.
- Never leave it unsupervised.
- Always keep a hose pipe handy.
Workmen and DIY
Fires have been started by paint stripping and plumbing in the roof space
- Do not use blowlamps.
- Use compression or push fit plumbing fittings.
- Fit a fire resisting loft hatch, min 900 x 600mm.
Smoke Alarms and Detectors
Smoke alarms and detectors are readily available and in preference should be hard wired and connected to each other, with a back up battery. Fit at least one on each floor and also in the roof space.
By using a common sense approach and a few simple precautions the risk of fire in thatch can be managed.