Gas Safety Week Starts Today

Gas Safety Week runs from 10-16 September, with the gas industry joining forces with consumer organisations to increase gas safety awareness among the general public and encourage people to take good care of their gas appliances. This post looks at the main safety issues addressed by the campaign and gives information about locations of Gas Safety Week events.

Gas Safety Checks & Servicing Gas Appliances

Get a gas safety check every 12 months and have gas appliances serviced regularly. If you live in rented accommodation your landlord is legally obliged to provide annual gas safety checks. Energy providers sometimes offer free safety checks to vulnerable people – check the back of your gas bill for contact information to see if they can help you.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide gas will make you feel ill, but exposure to high levels can quickly cause death. Install a carbon monoxide alarm which gives an audible warning, and test it regularly (check out this post for details of a free alarm test reminder service offered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue).

Be Alert

Be alert for signs that your gas fire, stove, boiler or cooker may not be working properly. Warning signs include excessive condensation in the room, black marks appearing on or around the appliance, and burning with yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones.

Use Gas Safe Registered Engineers

Unsafe gas work can have devastating results including fires, explosions, gas leaks and CO poisoning. Only allow Gas Safe registered engineers to work on your gas appliances. Always ask to see their official Gas Safe Register ID card – the video above shows how to check the card.

Gas Safety Week Events

Gas Safety Week events are taking place throughout the UK at locations including Aberdeen, Aintree, Basingstoke, Bath, Belfast, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bradford, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Catford, Falkirk, Gloucester, Holywood, Leicester, Londonderry, Luton, Manchester, Nottingham, Oldham, Peterborough, Preston, Solihull and Stoke – click here for details.

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Free Fire Safety Reminders From Push The Button

CO alarmTesting your smoke alarm or CO alarm is one of those things you know you should do regularly, yet it is easy for it to slip your mind. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have come up with a great way to help people keep their smoke alarms in working order.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have launched a new reminder service called Press The Button. All you need to do is visit the Press The Button website and sign up for their reminder service. You can opt to receive messages weekly or monthly either by email or Twitter.

While the focus of this campaign is on smoke alarms, this is a great chance for anyone with a carbon monoxide alarm to get a reminder to test both at the same time. CO alarms are required with all new installations of woodburning & multifuel stoves, and are a great idea for anyone with gas fires or solid fuel fireplaces in their home.

CO and smoke alarms can only save lives when they are in working order. Ideally they should be tested every week. The reminder service is completely free, so why not sign up today and make life just a little bit easier for yourself? You can also follow South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue on Twitter at @SYFR.

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How to Choose the Perfect Wall Fire

Crystal Sunrise hole in wall gas fireIt’s easy to get excited about the idea of buying a new wall fire with so many stunning designs to choose from. However, it’s a good idea to think carefully about the practical aspects first to make sure your new fire really suits your needs. Hopefully this post will help you narrow down your options and quickly home in on something that’s a great fit for you and your home.

Gas or Electric?

If you need a fire which can give out a substantial amount of heat you are probably best off looking at gas. Electric wall fires with fan heaters generally have a 2kW maximum output, while the convector types can be as little as 600W. In contrast gas wall fires typically have a heat output between 3-4kW, with a few models in the 5-6kW range. The construction of the wall is also important – a plasterboard stud wall may be fine with an electric wall fire but pose a real fire risk with a gas fire. Remember that your new fire will need either a gas or electricity supply, and your fitting costs will increase if there isn’t already a power point or gas outlet in a suitable position. Take professional advice from a Gas Safe engineer if you are considering the gas option.

Inset or Wall-hung?

This question can either be practical or aesthetic. An inset wall fire takes up little or no room space, but may require a deep chimney cavity for installation. Hang on the wall fires are ideal for flat walls, but they do stick out into the room. Usually this isn’t very noticeable in larger rooms, but it could be a problem in a smaller space. Inset gas wall fires generally require a working chimney, but many wall-hung flueless gas fires are available if you don’t have a functioning flue.

An important practical issue for flued gas wall fires is whether you have a working chimney and a chimney recess large enough to house the body of an inset wall fire. Nearly all flued gas wall fires are designed for inset installation, and if there isn’t already a builders opening at the right height one will have to be knocked out. Most wall-hung gas fires are flueless, which makes them ideal for people without a chimney.

With electric wall fires you have a wide choice of both inset and wall-hung models to choose from, although convection models tend to be wall-mounted as they usually conceal the warm air vents behind the frame of the fire. Some wall-hung electric fires come with a coloured backlighting facility which can really make an impact as a decorative feature.

Open or Closed Front?

If you have children in the house a sealed unit is the safer option, but this is about fuel economy as well as safety. The most efficient gas fires are sealed, and this translates into long term savings on running costs. Sealed gas fires are also more environmentally friendly – their emissions are cleaner and they use less fossil fuel per kW of heat output than less efficient models. The downside is that purchase costs tend to be higher. Open fronted fires give a feeling of a more direct connection between the fire and the user, but dust can easily settle on the decorative fire bed making maintenance a little harder. With gas fires it is important that the fuel bed is positioned correctly to ensure the gas jets function properly and prevent discolouration, and it is easy to dislodge the fuel bed of an open gas fire when trying to clear it of dust.


Gas wall fires may need a hearth, depending how high they are off the ground, and may also need an air vent. Your fitter will be able to advise whether this applies in your case. It’s important to confirm that the wall can safely take the weight of the fire, and that there is no fire risk from combustible materials close to heat sources. We strongly advise you to get an installation survey from a qualified fitter before committing to any particular wall fire to ensure it is suitable for your requirements. Fireplaces Are Us offer installation surveys in many areas of England and Wales – visit our fireplace installation page for more information.

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Dimplex Fireplaces Come Up Trumps

Dimplex Valencia electric wall fireDimplex fireplaces have achieved an enviable reputation for producing electric fires with realistic flame effects. So it comes as no surprise that the developers of the new Trump International Hotel in Toronto have chosen to install Dimplex fires in most suites to add ambience to the building.

Dimplex have developed some groundbreaking fireplace products over the years. Their patented Optiflame system has become a world favourite since its introduction in 1988, generating a realistic bed of simulated flames which appears to emanate from the centre of the fuel bed. The appearance of the flame effect varies depending on the size of the fire and what fuel bed is chosen.

More recently Dimplex launched the Opti-myst system, a 3-dimensional smoke and flame effect which is hard to distinguish from a real fire. Opti-myst uses an illuminated ultra-fine water spray to create the illusion of smoke and flames, with further realism added by a fuel bed of glowing Optiglo logs and a shimmering ashbed.

The Dimplex product range include wall mounted fires, freestanding fires and fires for use with conventional fire surrounds. Shop for Dimplex fires from the comfort of your home!

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What is a Fireplace Hearth For?

Gallery Cranbourne marble fireplace with Neon fire basketWorking in the fireplace industry there are certain facts about fireplaces I tend to see as so obvious they don’t need to be explained. Every so often someone asks an unexpected question, which of course makes me wonder how many other people are unsure about the same thing. Recently one of our customers asked what a fireplace hearth is for, and I decided to share the answer in case anybody else is wondering.

Most people just think of a fireplace hearth as the slab of stone which lies at the base of the fireplace below the grate, stove or fire. In fact there are usually two parts to a fireplace hearth – the decorative slab visible at the base of the fireplace, and a thick concrete sub-hearth below which lies flush with the floor. Together they provide a heat shield to prevent the heat from the fire from spreading to nearby joists which could catch fire if not protected.  The decorative hearth has additional fire prevention functions – by creating a raised area near the fire it subtly deters people from placing flammable materials too close to the fireplace, and it provides a non-combustible surface around the fire in case any burning embers spill out.

The traditional combination of sub-hearth and decorative hearth harks back to the days when open fires were the norm, but is still important for modern combustion appliances such as gas fires and solid fuel stoves. UK Building Regulations set out strict requirements for hearths for combustion appliances in Document J, which you can download here. It is vital to confirm that your hearth is suitable for any new stove or fire you are thinking of having installed, and this is one of the points a professional will check when visiting your home to do a fireplace or fire installation survey.

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New Pureglow Stone Fireplaces

Pureglow Wenlock fireplace, Pureglow Wychbury fireplace, Pureglow Hanley fireplace, Pureglow Knighton fireplace

New Pureglow fireplaces L-R: Wenlock limestone, Wychbury limestone, Hanley marble, Knighton marble

We’ve just added some beautiful marble and limestone fireplaces from Pureglow to our product range. All are available with or without a fire, giving you the freedom to create the perfect look for your living room.

Pureglow Wenlock Limestone Fireplace

The Wenlock fire surround is crafted from solid Agean limestone, with a 54″ wide mantel shelf. The creamy tones of the limestone contrast with the glossy black back panel and hearth. It has a 75mm rebate and is suitable for use with gas and electric fires. The black granite back panel has a 22″ x 16″ cutout which is compatible with standard inset fires.

Pureglow Wychbury Limestone Fireplace

The Wychbury fireplace is crafted entirely from solid Sepol Portuguese limestone, and is suitable for use with gas and electric fires. The three-piece back panel allows for some flexibility in the opening size, making this suite a good option for use with fires which aren’t standard width. The mantel width is 54″, with a 75mm rebate.

Pureglow Hanley Marble Fireplace

The Hanley fireplace is made from Perla micro marble, a composite stone with consistent colouring and a smooth, glossy finish. Two sizes are available – 48″ width or 54″ width, both with a 75mm rebate. The 22″ x 16″ cutout is compatible with a wide variety of gas and electric fires.

Pureglow Knighton Marble Fireplace

The Knighton fireplace is made from Perla micro marble, with a matching back panel and hearth. At 56″ wide it will be an imposing feature even in larger rooms. The back panel opening is 22″ x 16″, ideal for inset gas and electric fires.

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Wall Fires Bring Home Comfort to Small Rooms

Flavel Inspire wall-hung electric fireWhere do you put a fireplace when you don’t have room for one? This might seem like a daft question, but there is a distinct trend towards smaller rooms in modern properties. As well as making us feel hemmed in, these restrictions on living space create some real practical problems. How do we fit in enough seating to be sociable with family and friends? Where do we put all our stuff? And how do we make a small place feel like home rather than a rabbit hutch?

Modern houses and flats generally have excellent central heating systems, without any physical need for a fireplace to keep you warm. But that isn’t really the point. Evolved as we are, fires still speak to a primordial part of us. They represent home and comfort and safety, and the hypnotic effect of flickering flames is truly relaxing. The central heating may keep our bodies comfortable but it doesn’t warm our hearts.

So what should we do if we crave the comfort of a fire but simply can’t fit in a conventional floor level fireplace? The answer is to head for the high ground and look at wall-mounted fires instead. There is a great range of shapes and sizes available to fit whatever space you have available. Most are modern in style but there are a few with a more traditional look if the contemporary isn’t your cup of tea.

Wall fires are incredibly versatile, with gas and electric models available for both recessed and flat-wall installation. The biggest problem you’re likely to face should you want a wall fire is which one to choose! I’ll come back to this topic later with a look at how to choose the right wall fireplace. In the meantime why not sit back and imagine how a wall fire could improve your living space.

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