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The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Advice -

QI am hop­ing to in­stall a coal-ef­fect elec­tric fire in my fire­place and I won­der if I need to seal up the chim­ney first? I am won­der­ing if rain were to come down the chim­ney, for ex­am­ple, would that be dan­ger­ous with an elec­tric fire? I would be grate­ful for your ad­vice.

AIn­stalling a coal-ef­fect elec­tric fire has be­come par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive over re­cent years as we all seek to be­come less re­liant on fos­sil fu­els and do our small bit for the en­vi­ron­ment. Modern spec­i­fi­ca­tion elec­tric fires now fea­ture flame ef­fects that re­ally do pro­vide an un­canny re­sem­blance to a real fire am­bi­ence.

A large range of fire-type op­tions are avail­able to suit an in­di­vid­ual’s re­quire-

Send your queries to prop­er­tyques­tions@irish­

or to Prop­erty Clinic, The Ir­ish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. This col­umn is a read­ers’ ser­vice. The con­tent of the Prop­erty Clinic is pro­vided for gen­eral in­for­ma­tion only. It is not in­tended as ad­vice on which read­ers should rely. Pro­fes­sional or spe­cial­ist ad­vice should be ob­tained be­fore per­sons take or re­frain from any ac­tion on the ba­sis of the con­tent. The Ir­ish Times and its con­trib­u­tors will not be li­able for any loss or dam­age aris­ing from re­liance on any con­tent. ments and can be free­stand­ing, built-in, cas­sette, in­set or wall-mounted.

All coal-ef­fect elec­tric fires do not re­quire a chim­ney.

How­ever, as in your case, where an ex­ist­ing chim­ney is in situ, then you will re­quire some mod­i­fi­ca­tions. With­out hav­ing to carry out works to the roof and chim­ney, you will be able to main­tain the ex­ist­ing chim­ney as it is by pro­vid­ing a ven­ti­lated chim­ney cap (cowl) on top. There are a wide range of cowl op­tions avail­able and these pro­vide good ven­ti­la­tion which can be ad­justed by rais­ing or low­er­ing the arms.

The cowl will re­duce heat loss from your prop­erty and will pro­tect your chim­ney against water/damp­ness in­gres­sion. Hav­ing the cowl fit­ted cor­rectly will also pro­tect your chim­ney against bird nest­ing which can be a nui­sance.

Often, a good idea would be to ask your in­staller to rec­om­mend speak­ing to an ex­ist­ing home­owner who has had sim­i­lar work car­ried out, so you can ap­pre­ci­ate the real ex­tent of mod­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired. An­drew O’Gorman is a char­tered build­ing sur­veyor and mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors Ire­land.


Out of the loop: when part of our road was widened with­out our knowl­edge, the works filled in drainage pipes from our gar­den.

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