Oldest invention is the greatest luxury

by Andy Bryenton

It’s almost certainly the first and most important discovery of prehistory. Fire changed a group of primitive creatures into the first human society, giving them warmth in the cold, light in the dark, defence from wild animals and cooking to reduce disease. Today fire has been tamed and harnessed for our comfort during winter, and can even reside safely right in the middle of our homes.

It’s an ally that needs careful control and a bit of forward planning. As the cold weather begins to bite on these early autumn mornings, it’s a timely reminder to sort out all the infrastructure, which will keep your fireplace burning all winter safely with minimal fuss. First up comes a chimney sweep, to clear out the soot and cobwebs, as well as unwanted lodgers birds are attracted to chimneys in summer when there’s no choking smoke, and their nests are highly flammable!

Remember that your insurance may insist on a regular chimney sweep to ensure a safe fire. At the same time, a qualified fireplace expert will not just clean the flue, but will also inspect the firebox and fittings for rust, deterioration and wear. Replacing worn parts can seriously extend the life of your fireplace, but if it does need a complete replacement, now is the time to act. It takes a little while for necessary council permits to come through, and the installation itself takes time, so plan in autumn for a new fireplace in winter.

The other aspect of keeping a fire lit all through the cold months is laying in an ample supply of fuel. It could be combined with another shore, call in a qualified arborist for help chopping back trees, which may pose a danger to the home, sheds or power lines in a storm. A log splitter makes short work of big rounds of timber, while a wood chipper turns the twigs into handy mulch this last item is often something a tree pruning pro brings along with them. It’s also worth noting that battery powered chainsaws have come a long way in recent years, and it may be time to ditch your old, hard to start or rusty petrol saw and step up to a modern alternative. It’s also the time of year for those without access to their own timber to call firewood suppliers and stack up a good supply. As the season progresses, all that you’ll need to do is split kindling to keep the home fires burning.