Wood burners now major cause of thatch fires
If you go back 20 years, the main cause of thatched fires was bad electrical wiring, but this problem has, by and large, been solved now, as many of those susceptible properties have been completely rewired and there is now a requirement for electrical certification every 5 years. But since the introduction of wood burning stoves, has now become the new main cause of thatched fires.
The key problem is the heat that goes up a chimney from a wood burner is much greater than that from an open fire. Simply put, where the chimney goes through the thatch, despite the chimneys often being lined and insulated, the brickwork gets hotter and hotter and hotter, before finally igniting the thatch from the inside.
The owners typically don’t even know their home is on fire – the first they know about it is when their neighbours alert them to the fact that their thatch is alight.
As the property market has boomed over recent years, a lot of thatched properties have been bought and sold, often having been modernised, and often included the installation of a wood burning stove. Steve Graham, the Managing Director of Thatch Shield Ltd has 40 years’ experience of thatched properties. He said, “If I look back at 20 years ago, the majority of these houses had open fires which is a more ‘gentle heat’ that goes up the chimney. Part of the modernisation process means that 80% of thatched houses now have wood burning stoves and it’s a real issue.”
Make sure your thatched or period home is properly insured – if the worst was to happen, losses typically start at £100K, the average being closer to £500K, but with some claims closer to £1M, it really does pay to ensure your home is covered properly with insurance arranged by Thatch Shield Ltd, your thatched and period home specialists for over 40 years.
Date added: 21 November 2018