Safety Tips for Using the Fireplace in Your Home
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Is there anything cozier than enjoying a warm fire inside during the winter months? If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace or woodstove in your home, please follow these precautions:
- Call in a chimney sweep. Every year, you should have your chimney cleaned to remove creosote This keeps air flow unobstructed and prevents a chimney fire, which would be devastating to your home. A professional chimney sweep should also check for cracks in the flue liner and proper functioning of the damper.
- Inspect your chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps the rain and snow out of your flue. It also prevents birds or other animals from entering the flue. The sides of the chimney cap are wire mesh, which also needs to be kept clear of creosote. Otherwise air flow will be hampered and smoke will enter your home instead of being properly drawn up the chimney.
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Wood that has not been aged long enough will sputter, smolder and smoke, causing excess build up of creosote.
- Burn only untreated wood. Do not burn treated wood, plastic or other debris in your fireplace or woodstove. These give off toxic fumes you do not want inside your home.
- Wait until ashes are cool before removing them. If you try to clean out the fireplace or stove while there are live coals or embers in the ashes, they will give off smoke into your home while in the ash bucket. They could also result in burns, if dropped on the floor.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas produced during incomplete combustion. The only way to know if it is in your home is by using a detector.
- Keep the damper closed when not burning a fire. This will prevent the warm air from going up the chimney.