When Thatch becomes too hot to handle
Around 50 thatched homes burn down each year, with the majority of fires occurring between late September and April. Sadly, the vast majority of thatch fires result in a total loss of the property.
The trend to install wood burning stoves coupled with the continued rise in electricity bills and the desire to be environmentally friendly, means that over 200,000 wood burning stoves are now sold each year. Many are installed in thatched roof properties, often by installers who do not fully understand the risks associates with thatched properties. Badly fitted and the wrong type of chimney liners can actually cause a higher risk of fire than no liner at all, and installing a stove too big for the property can have serious ramifications.
These days you can buy a thatch temperature monitoring system which detects the changes in the temperature of the thatch across a 2 metre area and will set off an alarm inside the house to alert of any problems. It can actually take several weeks before any smouldering deep within the thatch can be seen – so you can catch any problem in its infancy before it gets a hold. If your property is terraced or semi-detached, speak with your neighbours and see if you can all agree to install a monitoring system as the fire, should it occur, may not be in your roof but could soon spread.
A few other simple measures you need to implement when dwelling in a thatched property are:
|> Make sure your wood burner is purchased from someone who can provide good advice and is installed by an expert – with the correct flue liner|
|> Have your wood burner checked regularly|
|> Check the flue and brickwork at least every three years|
|> Have the flue cleaned by a qualified chimney sweep|
|> Fit smoke alarms around the chimney stack and in the loft space – and check these regularly|
|> Use proper fuel- never use resin-rich softwood, building timber or rubbish and paper|
|> Do not fit spark arrestors as they clog with tar and soot and become a fire hazard|
|> Remove halogen security lights which are situated near to thatch as they can cause a heat build up which can result in a fire|
|> Consider having a temperature monitoring system installed|