Fireplaces have long been a feature in living rooms because they’re aesthetically pleasing and help to warm the home. But fireplaces can also be dangerous when they’re not properly maintained and used. Here are some ways to keep your fireplace safe so you can enjoy them in comfort and with peace of mind.
The following are a few tips to remember when using your fireplace.
1. Have Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
Hiring a chimney sweep should be on your list of annual maintenance chores. Creosote and other particulates can build up in your chimney and cause a chimney fire. A certified chimney sweep will inspect and clean the chimney to get it ready for use.
2. Have a Chimney Cap Installed
Chimney caps prevent rain, snow, and other debris from getting inside your chimney. Opt for a cap made from stainless steel rather than galvanized metal to prevent rusting. If the chimney cap is missing or broken, have a new one installed.
3. Clean Out Old Ashes and Coals from the Fireplace
If you use your fireplace regularly, you’ll collect a lot of ash in the bottom from burning wood. Clean it out regularly to keep your fireplace safe and efficient. Be careful, however, because ash and coals can stay hot for up to three days after a fire. Give the ash several days after your last fire to cool completely before removing it.
4. Only Burn Dry Firewood to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
While you may want to throw anything that burns into your fireplace to discard the item, only burn seasoned hardwood. Plastics, pressed wood, and other materials give off toxic fumes and may cause flare-ups. Seasoned hardwood logs that have been left out at least 6 months to dry are the only type of wood that is safe to burn in a fireplace.
5. Keep Flammable Items Away from Fireplace
Furniture, curtains, newspapers, and books are all made from flammable materials. While sparks shouldn’t be coming out of your fireplace, it only takes one to start a fire. One of the easiest ways to keep your fireplace safe is to keep the area around it free from clutter.
Use Common Sense
A fireplace makes your home’s living area look great and helps keep your family warm on cold winter nights. Using a little common sense goes a long way in preventing accidents that could injure someone or damage your home. Also, make sure you have both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms properly installed throughout your house so your family will be alerted to any danger.