There are many different way to heat your home, gas heaters, electric heaters, open fires and multi fuel stoves, whichever way you chose to heat your home make sure you do so safely and follow our advice.

Portable heaters


  • Never sit closer than three feet to a heater.
  • Never put a heater near clothes or furnishings.
  • Never use portable heaters to dry clothes.


  • Always unplug heaters when you go out or go to bed.
  • Always look to secure heaters against a wall, this will stop them falling over.

Open fires


  • Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire.


  • Always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
  • Always make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed.
  • Always keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained, they should be swept by a trained person:
    - At least once a year for smokeless fuels
    - At least twice a year for bituminous coal
    - Quarterly when in use for wood
  • Always make sure ash and embers are cold before putting them into wheelie bins.


  • Remember you should have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted and test them regularly.

How to tell if your chimney is on fire

  • A loud roaring noise.
  • Sparks and flames seen shooting from the chimney top.
  • Smoke or smells noticeable in other rooms or the loft space
  • The chimney breast of flue pipe heating up in either the same room or other rooms they pass through.

What to do if you think your chimney is on fire

  • Call the Fire Service by dialing 999.
  • Do not attempt to put out the fire with buckets of water.
  • Do not use your fire/wood burner again after you’ve had a chimney fire, until you have had the chimney inspected as the fire may have caused damage to the chimney structure or flue.

If you or someone you know is struggling to keep their home warm, then consider contacting Warm and Well if you’re in North Yorkshire or City of York Council if you live in York.