As the weather gets icy, many people look forward to long evenings clustered around a roaring fire. In the frosty weather, the fireplace is the center of the home because it heats the house, doesn’t use much energy, and warms the heart as much as the room. However, a fireplace can also be deadly so keep in mind these fireplace safety tips for a nice and cozy home.
Use a Fireplace Screen
Fireplace screens are both beautiful and sensible. They cover the firebox and separate it from the room when logs are burning. Sparks and embers often pop from the fire and can burn holes in fabrics or even start fires outside of the fireplace. A screen assures that the fire will stay in its place for safe enjoyment.
Use Firewood Only
Anything but firewood burns unpredictably and can increase the likelihood of fires outside the fireplace. In addition, burning lumber, crates, painted wood and construction scraps can also release of poisonous gases. Treatments and coatings on different types of wood can compromise the air quality in your home.
Inspect Your Chimney Once a Year
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney once a year to ensure that the fireplace is safe and efficient. A professional chimney cleaner’s number one job is fireplace safety. The chimney cleaner will remove creosote from your chimney and check for cracks that may have developed in the lining. You should also regularly remove ash and soot that may have accumulated underneath burned logs. When these byproducts collect, it results in reduced airflow and a less-efficient fireplace over all.
Use Dry Firewood
Dried firewood will burn more efficiently than any other fuel source. Wood that isn’t properly cured will take more energy to burn and may burn unevenly. It is recommended that firewood to be allowed to dry for at least a year because it can take that long for all its moisture to evaporate.
Never Leave Your Fire Untended
Probably the #1 fireplace safety tip is to make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. After it dies down, this will take at least an hour. Also, remember to never open the damper before the fire is completely out. Fire is unpredictable and should always be treated with appropriate respect.
Use Fire Resistant Rugs Around Your Fireplace
Even if some sparks escape your fireplace, a fire-resistant rug will keep them from igniting and keep your floor from being damaged.
Check Smoke Detectors
Even if you follow all the tips listed above, accidents still happen. In case of fire, all of the safety tools in your home need to be operable. Before you use your fireplace, be sure to check your smoke detectors to be sure that they are working properly. If the batteries are dead, replace them right away. It is also a good idea to keep and maintain a fire extinguisher, just in case.
Always remember that fire is as unpredictable and dangerous as it is useful. By following these simple fireplace safety tips, you should be able to use your fireplace without any problems at all.