There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a fire on a cold night. Whether you use your fireplace as a heat source or for ambiance, fireplace safety is critical. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, now is the time to use it. But, it’s important to follow these fireplace safety tips to prevent injury and damage.
Fireplace Safety Starts With Chimney Maintenance
One of the most important steps of fireplace safety is maintaining and cleaning the chimney. Each time you use the fireplace, soot, creosote, and ashes build up inside of the chimney. These materials may create a blockage that causes smoke to flow back into the house, and they can lead to a chimney fire. The best way to prevent the risk of a fire is to hire a professional chimney cleaner to clean the chimney and the fireplace. The chimney sweep will also inspect the chimney and fireplace for cracks or other damage that increase the risk of a fire.
Safety Around the Fireplace
Fireplace safety isn’t just about the chimney and fireplace, it’s also important to check the area around the fireplace. Make sure there aren’t any decorations or wall hangings placed near the hearth. When using the fireplace, keep the area free from any decor and debris, especially items like magazines, newspapers, and fabric that can quickly catch fire from a small spark. Test the batteries in your smoke detectors. If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, install one.
Install a Chimney Cap for Fireplace Safety
Not only will chimney cap will help to keep debris, leaves, and sticks from falling into the chimney, but it will keep animals like birds and squirrels out. Anything that falls into the chimney, especially things like dry leaves, can quickly lead to a fire. The chimney cap also prevents rain and melting snow from seeping into the flue and causing damage.
Check the Fireplace Doors
Most people have glass doors on their fireplace, but fireplace safety includes making sure the doors are in good condition. Carefully inspect the glass for cracks and other damages. You’ll also need to make sure the latch and hinges are working properly. If you notice any problems, regardless of how minor they may seem, repair or replace the fireplace doors to reduce the risk of an accident.
Use the Right Wood
Along with inspecting, maintaining, and cleaning the chimney and fireplace, another important factor in fireplace safety is using the appropriate burning materials. The wood you choose should be hard, seasoned, and been dry for a minimum of six months. Using the proper wood will help the fire burn smoothly and prevent the risk of producing creosote buildup in the chimney. Extreme temperatures can lead to issues in the chimney, such as soot buildup and cracking, so use as little wood as possible. The smaller the fire, the less smoke and heat there will be.