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Getting a chimney OK'd for a real fire - what does it entail?

(14 Posts)
ravenAK Fri 09-Oct-09 23:37:04

We've bought a Victorian house that was previously in multiple occupancy. There are 4 blocked off fireplaces. The main heating is gas CH radiators, which is working well.

We're keen to have a real fire in the front room & possibly the other reception room, which is going to be a dining room. In each case there's what looks like a perfectly serviceable fireplace - we've removed a metal plate from the front room & a broken gas fire from the 'dining room'.

There aren't any chimney pots on the roof.

Obviously we're going to need to get someone in, but can anyone advise me as what we need to do & what we might expect it to cost?

HerHonesty Sat 10-Oct-09 15:00:14

your first step should be to get a sweep in. he'll tell you whether chimney on the inside is ok for an open fire (whilst cleanihg it for good measure if is) and will also know someone who will put back on chimney pots too.

chimney pots themselves are about 75-100 but if you are in a conservation area they are very hot on what type you are in, so you may have get a reclaimed one which can be muc more, so you are loooking at at least 400 quid without labour.

that said if the pots have been removed its usually a sign the chimney has been blocked and then gods know how much it would be to unblock it, it depends how it has been blocked!!!

phatcat Sat 10-Oct-09 15:10:15

The chimney might also need lining - we renovated a croft house a while ago and had a metal liner installed on the advice of our builder so that we could put a multi-fuel stove in. I can't remember how much that aspect of it was as we had loads of other stuff done at the same time. I do remember thinking it wasn't as big of a deal as I expected it to be though.

wilbur Sat 10-Oct-09 15:13:53

We have a similar sounding house and have opened up the front room fireplace (have left the others - too much draft coming down them and would hardly have them lit all the time). We did have a chimney pot still in good nick though, so our sweep was able to inspect and clean and give aok. Then he issued a certificate and we were good to go. Cost about £120. It was really sweet, he called me outside to see the trad sweep's brush coming out of the top of our chimney.

I would get an accredited sweep in to inspect and he should be able to tell you if you need lining, repointing, what the chimney pot needs to be etc.

wilbur Sat 10-Oct-09 15:15:15

BTW - if I were doing it again now, I would look into the stove fitting option, like phatcat. They are brilliant and much more efficient than an open fire.

HerHonesty Sat 10-Oct-09 15:15:26

wilbur i loved that bit, when you see the brush. i came over all chimchiminey...

ravenAK Sat 10-Oct-09 20:50:24

Thanks everyone!

Wilbur, we have considered a stove, but I must admit I do hanker after lovely open flames...if we were going to get a stove I think I'd just get a good looking fake gas one tbh, & save ourselves the whole hassle!

I'll get my local trades directory out & get a sweep to take a look - if it's going to entail £400 chimney pots, though, getting it done will have to wait.

Thanks again. smile

Littlefish Sat 10-Oct-09 20:52:28

If you want the fire for heat purposes, we were told that an open fire is about 30% efficient, but a stove is about 80% efficient.

nighbynight Sat 10-Oct-09 21:46:07

Light a fire and see if the chimney goes up?

Go and have a look at stoves, you may be surprised at what is available these days. You can get ones with giant glass fronts, so you get the flames.

ravenAK Sat 10-Oct-09 22:31:49

Not really littlefish - the house has been a muddle of bedsits & flats for years - both ground floor reception rooms were bedsits, & have substantial radiators in.

(Also superfluous washbasins & the great smell of Lambert&Butlers & Pot Noodle come as standard...grin).

It would just look nice - front room in particular has a hefty & frankly fugly 30s marble fireplace, which I've experimentally painted gloss black, on the grounds that it wasn't particularly in keeping anyway so we'd just be ripping it out.

It looks rather cool now (much to dh's surprise - I usually work to the assumption that most things look better if you cover them in black gloss paint or black velvet - he restrains my worst Llewelyn-Bowen style excesses..). It needs a shiny fire basket full of coal, & it'll be lovely.

Nighbynight, I am nightly tempted to just pile up a few bits of paper & twigs, catch them with a match, & see what happens - I'm trying to be sensible here! grin

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 07:27:10

A quick scan on the internet reveals that UK stove sellers seem to focus on Victoriana or teh country look.
This website has some contemporary stoves as well, also I think some neat solutions for central heating from your stove.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 07:29:08

My parents had open fires for years, they really are a recipe for sending heat up the chimney and spitting hot coals out onto the hearthrug. They do look good though.

ampere Mon 12-Oct-09 12:17:40

Why not get a burning taper and hold it to the fireplace opening? You may have to temporarily disable your smoke detectors but that would give you a bit of an indication as the whether the chimney was actually still patent or not.

ampere Mon 12-Oct-09 12:24:48

thanks for the woodburnerwarehouse link, nighbynight!

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