Willingham-based Ward Chimney Solutions stresses the importance of using a registered firm
As well as specialising in the supply and installation of wood-burning stoves, open fires and chimney lining systems, Michael Ward and his team at Ward Chimney Solutions Ltd also provide other services such as chimney sweeping, supplying and fitting hearths and smoke testing.
The company has been going for about eight years and has put fireplaces in houses, pubs, Cambridge University buildings and the ski centre in Manchester (Chill Factore). Over the last few years, Michael has noticed an increase in the number of people knocking through their chimneys to install a fireplace.
“An awful lot,” he confirmed. “The amount of people fitting them has probably doubled. Generally, people buy a new house and have the wood burner put in.”
Elaborating on their popularity, Michael noted: “Six or seven years ago, people were having them put in for cheap heat, and now it’s luxury heating.
“I think it’s going to go back to value for money heating as well – as soon as the price of gas goes up, the phone rings.”
Michael has been in the business for 21 years. “We’re HETAS registered,” he explained. HETAS is the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel heating appliances and is proof that a particular installer is properly registered. “Anyone who fits any wood-burning stoves, or has anything to do with fireplaces – even just touching the grates – has to be registered,” said Michael, who stressed the importance of doing it by the book: “Make sure you get a registered fitter, somebody to check the chimney’s sound beforehand because there’s a lot of carbon monoxide and things like that. We’ve had to put a few jobs right this year where people had fitted them wrong.”
Michael added: “Check how long they’ve been doing it – look at their credentials. Some people have only been doing it for 12 months so there’s no comeback on them at all. With fireplaces there are more fatalities from people doing them wrong.”
Commenting on what might be big in 2017, Michael added: “Hopefully it’ll be wood-burning stoves still – we’re ripping gas fires out all the time.”