Think fireplace safety is ensured just with annual inspection and regular chimney sweeps? Think again! A homeowner’s responsibility of keeping the fire safely within the fireplace goes beyond, since spending time next to a fireplace is only romantic and comforting when used responsibly. So before you start the next fire, make sure to tick off the following safety tips so that your house and the family stay protected from fire accidents.
Be Careful When Decorating For Holidays
Decorating fireplaces has been a part of the Christmas tradition for ages. However, don’t forget that most of the items used in holiday decorations are made of flammable materials and must be kept at a safe distance from the fire, at least 3 feet away. Place your decorations only at the areas where the sparks can’t reach, and which don’t get hot! Also, select a fire-resistant Christmas tree (if you choose not to buy a real tree) and other items for decorations as they burn slowly and are easy to extinguish if they do catch fire.
Don’t Overburden Your Fireplaces
Avoid putting more logs into your fireplace than it can take! In fact, burning smaller fires can also comfortably warm your room without putting your home at the risk of a fire hazard. Use a metal grate to pile up the logs for burning, and use kindling to start the fire instead of using any chemical products.
Avoid Treated Wood And Use Dry, Cured Wood Only
Firewood needs to be cut, stacked and dried for 8 to 12 hours to be suitable for burning. If you have freshly-cut wood, pile it up and cover it with a cloth. However, the sides should remain open to allow airflow through the stock. Avoid setting your freshly-cut wood aflame as it will burn unevenly and produce excessive creosote.
When buying wood for your winter fires, choose dense woods such as white oak, hickory, and sugar maple that burn the longest. Resinous woods, including white pine and spruce, burn well only when dried sufficiently, which is difficult to achieve as they absorb moisture if placed in a humid environment.
Install A Spark Guard
It is important to keep the fire safely within the fireplace. In fact, a single ember that enters into your room is enough to set the fabrics aflame and start a house fire. Guards of metal mesh or glass doors can help eliminate the risk of errant sparks sneaking into your home during burning.
Open The Dampers
Even the driest, chemical-free firewood produces some amount of gases when burning. In order to prevent these gases from collecting into your home and impacting the indoor air quality, keep the dampers open during your winter fires. This maintains continuous airflow and allows the gases to escape out.
Dispose Of Ashes And The Burnt Firewood Properly
Ashes and burnt firewood builds up after every fire. It must be cleaned up to provide a messy and potentially risky situation as this build-up is known to be a cause of many fire accidents. Once the remains after a fire have cooled down, put them into a lidded container, and ensure that it is kept at a safe place. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that ashes and burnt firewood should be stored at least 10 feet away from your home and other neighboring buildings.
Respect The Flames And Never Leave Them Unattended
It is highly dangerous to leave a burning fire unattended or even letting it smolder overnight. Even small fires can turn into a serious safety hazard as it only takes a little ember to start horrendous fires. Always make sure to put out the fire completely before you step out of the home or go to bed.
Equip Your Home For Fire Emergencies
Despite the best precautionary measures, fire accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Make sure you are equipped to take control! Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and check it regularly to ensure that it is in good working order. Install the extinguisher at a place that is readily accessible in the event of any emergency. Also, invest in carbon monoxide detectors as well as smoke detectors and install at least one of each type in every room.
Do you want to install a spark guard, or are you concerned about the safety of your damaged chimney? Rusty’s Fireplace & Chimney is the go-to contractor in Hamilton, Virginia, for all your fireplace service needs. Call us at 540-338-1266 to find out the best solution for the safety and efficiency of your fireplaces.