General Info

 

A wood burning heater emits less Greenhouse Gases than any other form of home heating, providing a heat that no other energy source can equal. A slow combustion fireplace delivers the lowest costs for heating your entire home with the smallest greenhouse footprint. With its all-natural ingredients, a wood heater embraces you & your family as you come in from the cold. When you warm your life with wood, you participate in a natural cycle and an ancient human ritual that has continued since the dawn of humanity.

 

Firewood is a renewable source for home heating that emits the same Co2 into the atmosphere that would occur naturally if the timber was left to rot on the forest floor. Burning wood for warmth is still satisfying. True, it takes a little extra effort, but like tending a garden or home cooking a meal, you are always rewarded. Over 1.1 million Australian families can’t be wrong.

 

Points to consider for the safe & efficient operating of your wood heater:

 

*Burn only dry & well seasoned hardwood.

*Firewood should be well seasoned (left to dry for at least two summers).

*Have your chimney or firebox & flue system cleaned & serviced regularly.

*Use softwood kindling to start your fire, then progressively work to larger pieces of hardwood.

*When lighting & reloading, allow full air into the system for at least 15 – 20 minutes afterwards.

*Do not completely close down the air supply overnight, this adds to the build up of creosote.

*Close as many doors, windows & curtains as possible until desired temperature is reached, then open  doors to naturally connect the heat throughout.

 

 

Chimney Cleaning

 

If you're a fan of Disney movies, then the idea of a chimney sweep might conjure up romantic notions of the film, "Mary Poppins." However, once the sounds of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" fade, you might start to remember how dirty Dick Van Dyke's character Bert and all his chimney sweep friends were after finishing the job. Of course if a soot suit isn't your idea of fun, you can use a professional service to clean your chimney. 

Cleaning a chimney is im­portant to prevent chimney fires -- and potential house fires. Therefore, the cleaner must be thorough and comprehensive in carrying out the cleaning. You're not just clearing out the soot and dust, but you need to scrape and remove creosote that has built up on your chimney walls.

There are four basic methods for cleaning a chimney, each of which require some special tools. 

There are four basic methods for cleaning a chimney. 

  • Rod Method, Top Down - This method requires that you be on the roof. After inserting it into the opening of the chimney, you will use the chimney brush to clean the inside walls of the chimney by raising and lowering the brush. The brush will be connected to flexible metal rods, and you will add rods to extend the length of the brush as you get further down the chimney. Many people prefer this method because it results in the least amount of cleanup inside the house. You can close off the opening to the fireplace within the house, which will help contain the suit and debris.

  • Rod Method, Bottom Up - This method is similar to the top down rod method; however you work from the fireplace opening within your house, working from the bottom up to the top of the chimney. Though safer since you do not need to get on your roof, it's very messy since you cannot seal off the opening of the fireplace. Be sure to use plenty of tarps and drop cloths to keep nearby flooring and furniture clean.

  • Weight Method - This method follows the same setup as the top down flexible rod method, but instead of attaching your chimney brush to flexible metal rods, you use rope, pull rings and weights. You'll assemble the rope and pull rings, adding a weight of at least 20 pounds (9 kilograms) to the brush, raising and lowering the brush to scrub the internal walls of the chimney. With this method, you can also close off the fireplace opening to your house, allowing for a more contained clean up.

  • Dual Line Method - This method takes two people. A rope (and pull ring for holding onto if you like) is attached to both ends of the brush. One person takes the brush and rope setup onto the roof and, while holding on to one end of the rope, drops the setup down the chimney. The other person, who is in the house at the fireplace opening, grabs the other end of the rope. Each person takes turns pulling the rope, in order to work the brush up and down to scrub the internal walls of the chimney. Since the fireplace opening cannot be sealed for this method, it can be quite messy. Be sure to use tarps and drop cloths to keep nearby flooring and furniture clean. 

 

History of the English Chimney Sweep

 

In the 17th and 18th century it was the governments wishes that all flues and chimneys would be cleaned often to help prevent problems from occurring. The chimneys of that period were very large so a master chimney sweep would use small children to climb up inside flues with brushes and metal scrapers to clean them. The young children, often known as 'climbing boys', would use there hands and metal scrapers to remove hard tar and soot which would be deposited from the smoke created by burning wood, logs and coal. It was common for the child to become scared and reluctant to climb so often the young child would be followed by a more experienced older child who would poke the boy's feet with needles if they slowed down or stopped, or for a small fire to be lit underneath the child, to force them to climb to the top. Everyday the child would be put at great risk from becoming stuck in the chimneys as they narrowed at the top, from breathing difficulties and even falling to their death. The master sweep would be paid a fee which was used to clothe, feed and teach the child his trade.The children used were parish boys, orphaned children and some were sold to the trade by there by their families. 

During this time there were no safety clothing or regulations to protect them. In London there was the London Society of Master Sweeps which had its own set of rules, one of which said that boys were not allowed to work on Sundays, they must go to Sunday school and read the bible. The conditions in which these children were kept was dreadful, some were forced to sleep in cellars on bags of soot and washing facilities rarely existed.

 

In 1803 the 'Society for Superseding Climbing Boys' was formed with the intention of finding equipment to clean chimneys without using young children.

It was George Smart and then later improved upon by Joseph Glass an engineer from Bristol who has been largely credited with developing the method that is still in use today. There design consisted of a system of canes and brushes which could be pushed up into the chimney from the fireplace below cleaning the flue as it went. Unfortunately at the time these methods were very rarely used as it was still cheaper to use children rather than buy the equipment.In 1840 an Act of Parliament was approved forbidding anyone under the age of 21 from climbing a chimney, but this had very little effect as penalties were small. It wasn't until 1864 after many years of campaigning was an Act of Parliament finally approved by the House of Lords outlawing the use of children for climbing chimneys. Lord Shaftsbury Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers established a penalty of £10 pounds for offenders. The Act had wide spread support from the police, public and courts which finally signaled the end of 'climbing boys'.