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Insurance for using flame gun to clear weeds

Are any gardeners out there using flame guns/blow torches to clear weeds, particularly in gravel areas?

I am interested to know how you find getting insurance to cover this work and what steps you are taking to ensure you are complying with the policy T&Cs?

Also the term flame gun and blow torch seems to get used interchangably, but I think there is a distinction which wil be quite important from an insurance perspective.

Any words of expereince gratefully received.


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  • PRO

    Any type of heat work carries a higher risk and a very high insurance premium. I used to use a sheen flame gun and when I told my insurer they wanted triple the premium, so now it's only used on my allotment.

  • Our policy excludes cover for the application of heat, think you are asking for trouble even if you do get/have cover. The consequences of something going wrong don't bear thinking about and you are relying on your insurance company to pay out, what if they wriggle out of their responsibilities?

    Just get the sprayer and glyphosphate out !

    • exactly + any of the touch weeds like dandelions will no doubt reappear as the roots will still be intact. 

  • PRO

    We once had a flame gun - utterly lethal bit of kit, and had one or two near misses before we thought, 'nope, not doing that no more'. I would not recommend it, and as others have said, insurance is eye watering, for good reason.

  • I had a very bad experience with a flame gun, and understandably, have not used it since...

    I was burning weeds in mid-winter, after a night of rain. A tiny spark blew into a 40 year old cypress hedge and - no exaggeration! - within 10 minutes the flames were 3 stories high! I immediately called the fire brigade and they came really fast, just in time to put out the fire that was advancing along the hedge towards the house. Another 10 minutes and we'd have been dealing with a house fire too...!

    I'm based in Belgium and liability insurance works differently here. Anyway, luckily I was covered by the insurance and we were able to replace the hedge as part of the claim.

    But yeah, I would avoid using weed burners all together. Quite apart from the risks involved, they're not very effective at killing things like dandelions, plantain, etc.

  • PRO

    Thanks everyone for your responses. I've had pretty good success with a flame gun at erradicating weeds in gravelled areas for a whole season in my own garden. However having found it almost impossible to get insurance and reading some of your responses I will forget about using it on customer sites, or even my own garden for this purpose in future. The flame gun is pretty useful for putting post saver sleeves on timber posts, so might just keep it for that. 

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