10 Fireplace Safety Tips

While many residences are now heated by furnaces or boilers, the good, old fire place is still found in over one third of American homes.  Wood and pellet heated homes are wonderful; they add a certain coziness to a home that can only come from the crackle of a fire place.  This comfort can potentially come at a price; a fire place can pose a potential hazard to your home and family.  Through proper precautions the risks posed by fire places can be avoided.

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  1. Have your chimney and fireplace annual inspected by a certified chimney specialist.  These professionals will perform routine cleanings which will keep your chimney safe from build up as well as inspect the unit for potential fire hazards.
  2. Be sure to cap your chimney to keep debris from flying into it and causing damage.
  3. Use dense wood that has been properly stored and dried (for at least 6 months). Wood that has not been properly stored or is too green produces more creosote, which can damage your chimney over time.  Use only wood, never flammable liquids, cardboard or trash to start fires.
  4. Use a spark guard in front of your fireplace to prevent damage or injury.  Place a non flammable carpet in front of the fireplace to keep embers and sparks from damaging hardwood or carpet.
  5. Never leave a fire unattended in the home.  Make sure there is always an adult present while a fire is burning and children should be at least 3 feet away from it at all times.
  6. When removing ash to clean the fireplace, wait at least 3 days since the last fire before handling soot.  Embers can smolder for quite a while and have the potential to cause burns or fire damage if not cooled long enough.  Where a dust mask while disposing of the debris.
  7. When the fire place is routinely in use, clean out the fire box at least once a week.
  8. If you ever notice a smoky haze indoors while burning a fire, inspect your fireplace for potential build up or damage.  The air indoors should never be smoky and must be addressed immediately.
  9. Never build your fire too large so it burns too hot.  Start small and build the fire until it is an appropriate size and producing adequate heat.
  10. Install and regularly test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors!

Stay warm and safe!