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How do unintentional thatch fires occur and how can we prevent them?

Modern enclosed solid fuel appliances such as wood burners, are designed to burn efficiently and cleanly. This means that they burn at increased temperatures to promote a 'clean burn' which in turn increases flue gas temperature. Solid fuel stoves can generate temperatures within the flue in excess of 300°C to 600°C.

When these appliances are fitted into elderly chimneys, and, in particular those with inadequate liners, the thatch is vulnerable to the risk of heat transfer, especially in those cases where there is only a 4-inch layer of brick between the flue and the thatch.

When choosing a chimney monitor system thought must be given to which type of system should be installed. There are two types of system: Probe Systems & Linear Heat Detection Systems.

Probe systems are configured as a probe that will push through the thatch until the tip of the probe makes contact with the chimney. The probe will detect the heat of the brick at point of contact and will monitor that point. The probe system has been developed for thatched properties, but it is not recognised within the fire and security industry. Probe systems are DIY fit, and several thatchers fit the system for their clients.

Linear Heat Detection systems are configured as a detection cable that is installed between the chimney and the thatch and can provide thorough monitoring of this area from as little as 50cm to well over 20m as required. The same cable can run on multiple sides of a chimney and indeed multiple chimneys. The components are fully certified to the appropriate BS standards. These systems should be fitted by professional fire and security installers.

Thatch Fire Prevention's "Phoenix" Chimney Monitor is a Linear Heat Detection system and comes with all of the points above but with these unique additional benefits:

  • Supports other devices such as Carbon Monoxide, Smoke & Intrusion detectors
  • Daily/weekly remote system integrity test
  • Integral telephone line monitoring
  • Remotely monitored 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Recognised by all major insurance companies
  • Rent or purchase systems available
  • Corporate members of Guild of Master Craftsmen, affiliate members of National Society of Master Thatchers
  • Annual fire risk assessments free of charge