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Technology that protects the thatching tradition

There have been several attempts to come up with an efficient and effective early warning system in the past, although most have proved unsuccessful. TFP's "Phoenix" Chimney Monitor system utilises the detection capabilities of linear heat detection cable (LHDC) to detect a rise of temperature within the chimney to thatch interface. The LHDC will activate at an approximate temperature of 180-185°C, therefore giving sufficient warning before the thatch interface reaches the critical temperature of 200°C.

The nature of detection for Linear Heat Detection Cable means that the entire length of the cable is the detector, therefore we can cover large areas of the chimney to thatch interface and it can detect the temperature rising above its threshold at any point along its length. The crucial temperature where the thatch meets the chimney is around 200°C, indicated by the research carried out by The National Society of Master Thatchers in conjunction with International Fire Consultants Ltd in 1993.

The LHDC is connected to an alarm panel that monitors the detection cable for alarm and fault conditions 24 hours a day, and will alert the occupants of any conditions arising that may start the charring process and of any fault within the system. Furthermore our control equipment has internal battery backup to run the system in the event of a mains power failure for up to 10 hours, giving the customer full protection no matter the local conditions.

The control equipment is connected to a local telephone/ADSL/GSM outlet so that the system can be monitored by an appointed NACOSS Gold accredited Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). In the event of an alarm condition the system will send a signal to the ARC to indicate the type of condition, and upon receipt of this signal the ARC will call the premises and/or nominated keyholders and instruct them to extinguish the heat source.

TFP is working closely with all of the major leading thatched property insurers to reduce the number of chimney related thatch fires. The "Phoenix" system is recognised by nearly all of the thatched roof insurers and as such all of which will offer premium discounts if our system is installed. Those who have the "Phoenix" system installed further benefit from an annual CCTV chimney survey included within their maintenance agreement.

The products we use were tested in 2010 at the Chiltern Fire Research facility in Buckinghamshire, where a thatch-chimney interface was recreated. The system performed as predicted and raised an alarm condition at 186°C, which in the event of a real life situation would have given any homeowner adequate time to extinguish the source of heat. In attendance and monitoring the tests were the National Society of Master Thatchers (NSMT) and International Fire Consultants Ltd.