Because of cooler temperatures, more homes in Raleigh and surrounding areas are depending on the fireplace for secondary heat. In order to keep your home safe, it’s important to have regular reminders of fireplace safety throughout the burning season.
- Make fireplace rules and make sure everyone knows them.
This means guests will not start or manage your fire without receiving instructions from the homeowner. Teaching children by example is a good idea, but teaching a child to light and manage the fire at a young age can be disastrous.
- Use the chimney system to control the flame.
There are features on every fireplace, stove, and insert that allow for easy control of an unruly flame. Utilize doors, dampers, and vents to restrict air to a large flame. This will allow the flame to die down and heat to decrease.
- Invest in tools to keep you safe.
There are tools specially designed by industry professionals that feature long handles so the homeowners can avoid burns while stirring coals or adjusting the fire. You can often find a set of fireplace tools that includes a hook, shovel, and broom (for ash). It is also a good idea to invest in leather gloves to protect you when tending the fire.
- Never leave your fire unattended.
Before you leave the home or go to bed for the night, your fire should be completely out. You can use the damper to help the fire die down. If your fireplace has custom glass doors you can close them and rest assured that your fire is contained, just as it would be in a stove.
- Keep all decorations and items away from the hearth.
Traditionally people like to put Christmas decorations on the mantel. As you’re packing away your decorations, make sure all of your usual decor is secure up there. Nothing should hang from the mantel while a fire is burning, and nothing should be near the fireplace opening that can possibly fall into or near the flame.
- Burn proper wood only.
It can be tempting on a cold winter evening to burn anything you see lying around, but it’s important to only burn properly seasoned firewood collected for this purpose. This is wood that you should cut yourself or purchase that has been cut, split, and stored for six months to dry. You should also avoid burning trash or clothes in your fireplace. These items can cause sparks to fly out of the fireplace into the room, or sparks can rise up the chimney, risking a flue fire.
- Maintain the chimney system properly.
The best way to keep your family safe from unseen dangers is to schedule your yearly chimney inspection. This valuable assessment will let you know of a problem at the early stages so that it costs less to repair, and doesn’t become a serious fire hazard. Scheduling regular chimney sweeps prevents creosote buildup and decreases fire risk as well.
Fires can be safe. While enjoying your fireplace this winter, don’t let a bad habit put your family at risk. For questions or concerns you can contact a Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service fireplace expert today.