Why Does My House Smell?

Sometimes, previous owners can leave things behind. And sometimes, those things aren’t tangible items, like plates and furniture. They’re smells. Before you walk away from your dream home, use these tips to pinpoint the source of any odors and be on your way to breathing easy.

Kitchen Leftovers

You might be surprised to know that eliminating many odors is as easy as cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Before your search gets underway, head to the kitchen armed with trash bags and go through the fridge and all storage areas. It’s easy to miss items in dark corners, and busy tenants or owners may have simply forgotten food during the move-out process. Once you’ve determined that the kitchen is clear, you can check other key areas.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is one of the most invasive, unmistakable odors, and one of the most difficult to remove. The smell from a cigarette can remain airborne months after it’s been lit, and inhaling leftover cigarette odor actually has a name–third-hand smoke. While daunting, removing cigarette odor can be done, and it’s almost always worth it.

The best way to approach stale cigarette smoke odor is to treat the entire house top to bottom, beginning by steam cleaning any carpets to remove residual smoke particles. Walls and upholstery can be chemically treated to neutralize the odors that are associated with smoke, and painting the walls can lock in stains and any remaining smell. Opening windows and doors will also help to purify the air, and there are air filtration machines available which cleanse and purge the home of toxic fumes.

Moisture and Mold

If your home smells “musty,” you probably have a larger project on your horizon. The leading cause of mold, moisture and mildew is water leaks in the roof, walls, plumbing or basement. Air conditioning units and drain lines can also be a culprit. Any of these issues will likely warrant a professional repair.

Insulation issues can also cause excess moisture. If flashings around windows are not properly sealed, condensation can collect and begin to mildew. You should also check freezer and refrigerator doors for sealing issues.

General Deodorizing

If you have decided that your home with olfactory character is right for you, there are simple steps you can take to deodorize a musty house. Zeolite, a natural mineral, absorbs odor without any perfumes or masking agents. It’s completely safe, non-toxic, and lasts up to six months. After that, it is easily rechargeable by heating in direct sunlight or a 250-degree oven for thirty minutes.

Activated charcoal is another powerful detoxifier that is used as an ingredient in many commercial odor removers. It is incredibly reasonable and lasts far longer than traditional air fresheners. Cleaning a musty home with vinegar is not only environmentally friendly, it also helps eliminate the odor from an old house. Baking soda is another miracle ingredient, that when sprinkled in an affected area, soaks up and removes residual odors. Not only does this work in refrigerators, but in any area of the home such as carpets, floors, and even clothing. Sprinkle it on the carpet at night, then simply vacuum in the morning for a fresh, clean scent.

If you’re having trouble pinpointing the source of a smell, call a National Property Inspections team near you. They can inspect your home from top to bottom and identify leaks, roof weaknesses, faulty appliances and more.

Don’t Pull a Griswold: How to Fix Christmas Tree Lights

One of the splendors of the holidays is all the festive décor, both inside and outside your home. Twinkling Christmas lights are what signal Santa’s sleigh, after all, so don’t get caught this season with lights that don’t work. Learn how to fix your Christmas tree lights easily so you can save money while still putting on a spectacular display. This way, you won’t get caught like Clark Griswold on Christmas Eve with blown fuses and a palooza of holiday frustration.

Christmas Lights Don’t Work? Check the Fuses

The first way to fix Christmas lights that don’t work is to identify whether half or all the strand is out. If it’s the latter, try replacing the fuse. A blown fuse can turn an entire strand dark, and often happens when multiple strands are connected from end to end. To change the fuse on a string of Christmas lights, first locate the plug (and make sure it’s unplugged from the wall, while you’re at it). On the male plug of every light string, you’ll see a sliding door that conceals the fuses. Open this and check the fuses—working fuses will be clear, while burnt out fuses will be dark in color. Replace the broken ones and you’re set.

Another lesson to learn from Mr. Griswold: do NOT use a stapler to put up your exterior lights, as this can cause the wires to blow the fuse.

Find Problem Bulbs with New Technology

With such new and innovative technology on the market, identifying a problem bulb is easier than it has ever been. A Christmas light repair tool costs about $20, and comes with everything you need to identify and replace a bad bulb: a continuity detector, shunt repairer, and light bulb removal tool.

The spark function on the repair tool can test each individual bulb, zapping and repairing the gap in current. If that doesn’t work, you can follow these steps to quickly trace the location of the dead bulb on the strand.

1. Pull apart the braided wires of the strand to identify the one directly connected to your bulbs.
2. Place the instrument about halfway through the strand, between two bulbs. If the tool hums or lights, the problem is in the half of the strand farthest from the plug.
3. If it doesn’t light up or hum, the problem is on the opposite side.
4. Once you have identified the problem side, you can replace the bulbs that have simply burnt out.

Remember, leaving a dead bulb on your Christmas lights can shorten the life of those around it.

Call Your Local NPI Inspector Today

With these simple instructions, you can easily learn how to fix your Christmas tree lights instead of buying new ones. If you have any questions, call your local branch of National Property Inspections. Their inspectors will give you advice and point you in the right direction so you don’t end up like Aunt Bethany’s cat this holiday.

The Best Electrical Outlet Type for Your Needs

Varying in category, voltage, and function, different electrical outlet types are each designed for a specific purpose. Different countries may have varying national standards, but the central goal is always the same: connecting you to your devices swiftly and easily.

Surge Protection Outlets for Clean Electricity

For reliable power you need to start with clean electricity, but what does that mean? Clean electricity is free of “noise,” (aka interference) that can be caused by nearby power lines or electrical substations. A noisy electrical supply is prone to surges, which is why one of the best ways to protect your home’s expensive electrical equipment is with a surge protector. Surge protection is also necessary in professional settings such as emergency power supplies or life-support systems for hospitals. If you don’t like the look of a surge protection power strip, you can buy in-wall surge protection outlets, too.

Polarized and Grounded Outlets Prevent User Error

Certain outlet types are designed only for specific connectors to improve safety. Polarized plugs and outlets are now the standard for all common household appliances. With polarized plugs, you’ll notice that one blade is slightly larger than the other. This ensures that you can only plug your appliance in one way, the right way, aligned with your home’s wiring system. Grounded plugs, usually found on larger appliances like ovens, refrigerators and televisions, have three prongs.

Use GFCI Outlets In Case of Water

Ever wonder why some outlets have reset buttons on them? This is a special type of receptacle called a GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter. Required in kitchens, bathrooms, and other exposed or damp areas, that tiny “reset” button can protect from serious shock when the right amount of electricity and water meet. Acting like an ultra-sensitive circuit breaker, this face detects the amount of incoming and outgoing current, and if they are not even, shuts itself down. Therefore, if you are having trouble with one or more outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry area, simply locate the GFCI switch and try a reset, which will restart any circuits it has been connected to. If you are having trouble locating the GFCI switch, National Property Inspections is always here to lend a helping hand.

Childproof Outlets Protect Your Little Ones

If you have a young family, child proof outlets are now more accessible than ever. While they appear identical to standard outlets, they are anything but. A spring-loaded cover plate protects the outlet holes, which prevents the insertion of household objects when unequal pressure is applied to the receptacle’s contact points. So essentially, unless you are an adult trying to plug something in, the outlet won’t budge. With nearly 2,400 children (that’s seven per day!) in emergency rooms due to electrical shocks per year, this is a fantastic way to keep your little ones out of harm’s way.

If you are having trouble locating the GFI switch or are wondering if it is time for an upgrade, National Property Inspections is here to help. Give us a call today at 1-800-333-9807.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips: Deck the Halls Without Them Falling

Decking the halls each year is a time-honored tradition, but laying the yearly yule log can be more than just a fun activity. Holiday decorations can pose fire hazards and other safety concerns when not thoroughly inspected and placed thoughtfully. Follow these helpful holiday decorating safety tips to keep your household merry and bright throughout the season.

Trees

For those that enjoy the scent of fresh fir, remember that a watered tree is a happy one and poses less threat of catching flame. The less watering you do, the more your tree will dry out, which can create a fire hazard with even the smallest spark.

To test your tree, first examine its branches and color. A green tree is a healthy one, and fresh needles that have been watered are difficult to pry from their branches. If you peek under your tree up and see a shower of needles, you need to increase your watering.

When deciding where to place the family Christmas tree, be sure to avoid areas by radiators, fireplaces, and other heat sources that can potentially dry out its needles as well. If curious cats or playful little ones are of concern in your household, consider using thin guy-wires to secure your tree top to the walls and ceiling.

Lights

Whether they are indoors or out, it is essential to read all labels to verify that your Christmas lights have been tested for your holiday decoration safety. Examine all strands to make sure they do not have any fraying wires, broken sockets, or loose connections from being stored year after year.

To protect from wind damage, always be sure to secure each strand of Christmas lights safely. When it’s time for bed, turn off all light displays to avoid overheating and starting a blaze overnight. Using faulty lights on a Christmas tree can cause it to become charged with electricity, allowing anyone touching it to be electrocuted. To avoid this, use colored spotlights around or beside the tree, rather than attached to it. Bubble lights should always be kept a safe distance from children, and you may want to skip them altogether—infants and toddlers may be tempted to pull on lights or even try to eat them.

Décor

Before electricity, candles were used to bedeck the branches of trees. Now, however, it’s essential to keep any sort of flame away from your evergreen for the safety of your holiday decorations. When trimming the tree, use only non-combustible and flame-resistant materials. Try tinsel, artificial icicles, or plastic materials.

In homes with small children, it’s important to choose decorations that are not sharp or breakable, and to avoid anything that looks like candy. Children can and will eat anything they can find, so be mindful of the little ones during this festive and bustling time. Paper decorations, for example, can be a great way to be crafty while finding a safe way for children to decorate. On Christmas morning, remove all wrapping paper and trimmings from the tree and fireplace areas as soon as possible. Never burn these items or any greenery in the fireplace, as they can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

For more information about getting your home holiday-ready, contact your local team at National Property Inspections. Our inspectors are always here to lend a helping hand.

Do you have experience with holiday disasters? Comment and let us know below!

How to Pick a Good Christmas Tree in 4 Simple Steps

Hanging the ornaments, caroling, and displaying the twinkle lights are all part of the holiday tradition. But without a Christmas tree, it would all seem empty. We gather, unwrap gifts, and celebrate the wonders of the season under the ole Tannenbaum, so it’s essential to know the ins and outs of how to pick a good Christmas tree.

How to Pick a Good Christmas Tree Step 1: Choose the Right Location

Choosing a safe spot for your Christmas tree is the first step to selecting the ideal fir. This spot will not only be a display for your tree, it will be the focal point for all your holiday festivities, so it’s important to consider your options carefully. Since the Christmas tree is where the family will tend to gather during the holidays, it is important to put the tree somewhere that the family feels comfortable gathering, such as a living room or den. When deciding the best placement for your tree, always consider your current home furnishings and what will be added when the Christmas décor comes out of storage. It might be a good time to consider a bit of rearranging, if only temporarily.

Always remember to keep the tree at least eight feet away from any heat source such as the fireplace or heating grate in order to prevent over-drying and a potential fire hazard. Foot traffic is also an important element to consider, as placing a Christmas tree in the way of people, doors, and staircases can easily lead to an accident. You’ll also want to consider any pet hazards, like curious cats who might try to hide among the branches.

How to Pick a Good Christmas Tree Step 2: Survey the Space

Before going to the tree lot, you should know what size tree best fits for your individual space. To do this, measure the distance between the floor and ceiling and subtract a foot. This measurement will be the maximum vertical height for your tree. Next, do the same thing with the measurements for the width of the tree, subtracting a foot. Also measure the length of the area allotted for the tree, subtracting a foot from this measurement. Multiply the length and the width, and you will have the area of space available for your Christmas tree. Other dimensions to consider are your tree topper, tree stand, and tree skirt. The tree topper should be no less than five inches away from the ceiling, while the tree skirt will need an additional six inches or more on either side to allow for gifts.

How to Pick a Good Christmas Tree Step 3: Consider all the Options

While some homeowners opt for a real tree, artificial trees are becoming more and more popular because of their ease and cost value. Before deciding which is right for you, consider the differences between real and artificial trees. Real Christmas trees are vibrant in color and have that fresh scent we look forward to every year. They’re also biodegradable as well as recyclable. Homeowners can make potpourri and air fresheners out of leftover pine needles, and real trees cost less than artificial ones.

Nowadays, artificial Christmas trees are designed to look, smell, and feel like the real thing. Some pros of going artificial include ease of purchase and a wide variety of sizes and lighting options to choose from. Unlike their real counterparts, newer artificial trees are typically fireproof and will never need to be watered.

How to Pick a Good Christmas Tree Step 4: Select the Ideal Tree

Once you have considered all your options, it is time to decide which tree is right for your needs. If you’ve chosen the option of a real tree, don’t forget to take your home’s space measurements and a tape measure. Chances are that your real Christmas tree is non-returnable, so it’s crucial that you avoid unpleasant surprises once you get it home.

Choosing the right tree can be a challenge, but once the tinsel is hung and Christmas morning comes, it will all have been worth it for the perfect Christmas tree. If you have any questions or want even more holiday tips, contact your local National Property Inspections team. They can help guide you through making the best decisions for your home.

How to Keep Your Pond from Freezing This Winter

Garden ponds provide a sense of calm in spring and summer. But as the days grow colder, it’s important to know the simple steps to take to keep your pond from freezing over until warmer weather returns.

First, a thorough cleaning of the pond is necessary to remove any dead plants and algae from the water. Any rotting foliage left behind may produce gases underneath the ice’s surface that can kill your fish over the winter. Move hardy plants to deeper water, where they will be safely submerged (at least 18 inches deep) to keep from freezing. If your pond freezes over entirely before you can move plants, be sure to remove and store them inside for the winter in the basement or a heated garage. Tropical lilies and other tender plants must be removed and stored in pots without drainage holes. Plants can be wrapped in damp newspaper and stored in trash bags. Check them every other week or so to make sure they do not dry out.

Clean the Filter and Pond

There are options for storing your pond’s filter between seasons, but a thorough cleaning is always a good idea before the cold sets in. Once it has been cleaned, you can move the filter closer to the water’s surface to keep your pond from freezing over. Or, simply remove the filter and store it until springtime. Next, vacuum the pond to remove any dead plants and left-over debris. Again, these can produce toxic gases when left beneath an icy surface, which can be harmful to your fishy friends.

Fish Care

When the temperature drops, reducing the amount of food you give to your fish can help them acclimate to the cold. As soon as it gets below 50 degrees, stop feeding them altogether to prevent them from creating unnecessary waste products in their environment. The fish will go into semi-hibernation, when they will feed on the nutrients in the water. There are some breeds of fish, however, that are sensitive to cold weather and need to be brought indoors when the weather gets cold. These include fancy goldfish with ornate tails, bubble eyes and lionheads.

Cover The Pond

To keep your pond from freezing over completely, investing in a cover will ensure that falling leaves and branches do not make their way into your aqueous environment. This will also assist during the process of prepping the pond for springtime when the cold thaws. All you need is a shade cloth, netting, or landscape fabric to do the job. If you are in doubt of how best to handle your pond’s care, contact the friendly experts at National Property Inspections.

Pond Safety

Whether you have a large or small pond, chances are you have some sort of pump and filtration system. During the cold months, it is especially important to disconnect these lines before water freezes and breaks the entire device. In fact, it’s best to purchase a de-icer to melt a small hole in the surface of your pond, allowing noxious gases to be purged from the water.

When it comes time to keep your pond from freezing, call your local National Property Inspections team to help batten down the hatches. Their expertise will go a long way in keeping your fish, filtration system, and overall outdoor haven a safe and beautiful place year-round.

3 Tips for Child Safety at Home

While home is often the safest place to be, your house could pose unseen threats to your child’s safety. Here are some of the ways you can maintain child safety standards and prevent serious accidents before they occur.

General Safety Tips

It’s essential that everything that could be potentially harmful is locked away for your child’s safety. Childproof latches are easily available to keep little hands away from dangerous tools, sharp edges, and appliances. Outlets will need fault circuit interrupters, which protect against electrocution when something electrical gets wet. Installing non-slip strips in bathtubs, showers, and underneath rugs is also a way to keep little ones from slipping unintentionally. If you are unsure if your home is hiding hard-to-spot dangers, feel free to contact National Property Inspections. Our inspectors have the expertise and experience you need to make an informed decision for the safety of your home.

In the Bedroom

If not prepared properly,cribs can pose some of the most serious safety risks for your child. Cribs that were built before 2012, for example, have been found to be life threatening because of their drop-side feature. If you want to re-use your childhood crib for traditions’ sake, you can modify it by permanently attaching the drop side to its end posts. This will eliminate any risk of the side suddenly dropping out of place and putting your child in danger. Once your child is able to push up in its crib, remove all bumpers, pillows, toys, and hanging objects for your child’s safety, as these can serve as tools to assist in an infant’s escape and a fall from their crib.

In the Bathroom

Be sure to turn the water heater below 120 Degrees so it’s impossible for bath water to get too hot. Scalding water can cause third degree burns in seconds on delicate skin. You’ll also want to lock all potentially dangerous instruments like razor blades, nail scissors, hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors in a cabinet that is not easily accessed by children. Medications, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, mouthwash, perfumes, hair dyes, hair sprays, nail polishes, and removers should be stored in a locked cabinet with child-proof caps on them (when possible) as an extra precaution. Always close the toilet seat and consider installing a toilet-lid lock to keep things secure when not in use.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a fantastic place for families to bond over cookie making and long talks, but to keep little ones safe, you’ll need to follow these tips:

– Turn any pot handles towards the back of the stove, using only the back burners whenever possible. Sometimes merely keeping things out of reach can go a long way.
– Position any chairs and step stools away from the stove top to prevent any curious diners from trying to sample anything above a hot burner.
– Be sure to place the garbage can behind a cabinet with a childproof lock on it and keep all corded appliances unplugged when not in use.
– Although sandwich bags are a commonly used kitchen accessory, be sure to keep these away from curious hands as well because of the dangers plastic can pose to child safety.
– Finally, does your child’s highchair have a safety belt or strap that goes between the legs? This prevents wobbly babies from taking an unwanted tumble.

If you are at all worried about the safety of your home, call National Property Inspections at 1-800-333-9807 to find a team near you. They can help with any questions as to the functionality of appliances, check for safety, and give you the peace of mind to bring baby home.

Are you getting ready to bring a baby home, or struggling with a toddler’s curious hands? Leave a comment below!

Bonfire Safety: How to Make a Bonfire at Home the Right Way

Having your own backyard bonfire takes the nip out of chilly evenings and creates the perfect atmosphere for a festive end-of-fall gathering. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to adhere to bonfire safety rules and build your own. Not sure where to start? National Property Inspections is here to help.

Know the Rules

Before learning how to make a bonfire, it’s important to research your area laws. In some areas, permits are necessary to build a bonfire, and they are only allowed during certain times of the year. Contact your local fire department for assistance in understanding the regulations and guidelines that may be unique to your city or state.

Bonfire Safety

Here are the top five ways to keep your home and loved ones safe from harm:

1. When selecting placement for the bonfire, always be sure to keep it a safe distance away from the house, garden, and any surrounding trees. Always set it up on top of soil rather than grass to avoid any stray embers from catching. Keep a bucket of water handy just in case, or have your outdoor hose at the ready should the need arise.

2. NEVER use any sort of accelerant on a bonfire. Building a fire is a skill that is easy to learn and master, but it takes precision and accuracy. The expression “don’t add fuel to the fire” is a warning for good reason. Paper products are excellent starters, and can be placed within the firewood safely without risk of explosion. Be cautious about what gets tossed into the flames, as cans and other metals can explode when heated.

3. Wear layers. Having a coat on keeps party-goers from standing too close to open flames, which can flicker and fly in outdoor breezes. Enjoy the bonfire from a safe distance, while still staying warm and toasty with your s’more.

4. If you choose to add sparklers to the evening festivities, it is important to remember some safety rules. Children should handle sparklers with fire-safe gloves, and always hold them horizontally to prevent any sparks from getting too close. Most importantly, it is essential to only hold one sparkler at a time. Three sparklers, when lit together, can produce the same amount of heat as a blowtorch meant to bend metal!

5. We all know it is fun to enjoy festivities with our furry friends. However, for Fido’s safety, it’s best to keep pets indoors for everyone’s bonfire safety.

How to Make a Bonfire

The best way to make a bonfire is by starting with a circle of bricks or stones to create a definitive framework. Make a teepee from small tinder such as twigs, pine needles, bark, or newspaper in the center of this circle. Next, make a teepee of kindling, or larger tinder, over the first, leaving holes for oxygen to breathe and feed the flame. Add fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of the teepee, repeating up to five levels with the teepee in higher layers each time. Once your fire is set up, light it by dropping a match in the center of the teepee or place it in one of the gaps. The goal is to light the inner tinder layer for a gradual build.

Taking precautions and following safety instructions will set you up for the perfect get together during chilly fall evenings. Sip cider, enjoy ghost stories, and catch up with friends all while enjoying the comforting warmth from your homemade bonfire. Remember, if there are ever any questions about safety, National Property Inspections is always here to help.

Are you having a bonfire this fall? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Benefits of Wood Burning Stoves

Over time, technology has developed numerous methods for heating and cooling homes, but some of us still prefer an earlier system: wood burning stoves. There are several tremendous benefits to owning a wood burning stove. Not only are these vintage stoves efficient, they can become an attractive focal point in any room, adding a sturdy and practical appearance while still serving as a functional piece.

1. Wood burning stoves help cut costs.

One of the benefits to owning a wood burning stove is saving on gas consumption and bills, especially if you only burn reclaimed materials instead of chopping firewood. This is good for both the environment and your wallet! Making up for the cost of installation and purchase in as little as three years, you can save up to 50% on energy bills by using reclaimed materials in your wood burning stove. Another option available is purchasing a clean-burning wood stove. Perfect for “no smoke” areas where the levels of pollution are monitored by the government, clean-burning stoves decrease carbon monoxide omissions by up to 65 percent. Call a National Property Inspections inspector today so that we can help you take the next step towards a greener, less costly home utility bill.

2. They’re a renewable source.

Wood burning stoves have been an integral part of heating homes for hundreds of years for good reason. Despite common opinion, burning wood is actually a much greener alternative to burning other chemical agents to heat the home, and it’s a renewable resource that can be reproduced again and again to fill the need. According to Green Match, burning wood only produces 0.008kg of CO2 per KWH, compared to 0.198kg and 0.517kg for gas and electricity, respectively. With all of the green initiatives currently emerging, this one is a no-brainer.

3. Having a wood burning stove is convenient in the event of a power outage.

Not only are you set for winter, you’ll be set for harsh winter storms. One of the benefits to this great piece of equipment is that it needs no electricity or gas to run, and thus is self-sustaining in the event of a power outage. While other homeowners are struggling to get the power back on, you can simply add another log to the fire, kick back, and relax.

4. You can place a wood burning stove almost anywhere.

Perhaps the greatest and most convenient benefit to having a wood burning stove is the ability to install it virtually anywhere. As long as it is away from curtains and similar flammable objects, a wood burning stove can be placed anywhere a vent pipe can be installed. With just a few wood burning stoves strategically placed throughout the house, the need for a central heating system could be eliminated.

With their versatility, innumerable utility savings, and environmental benefits, wood burning stoves are a great option for almost any household. Once installed, you and your family will have no problem staying warm this winter. Contact your National Property Inspections professional today for an evaluation on your home before the frost sets in. Do you have a question about wood burning stoves? Comment below!

Your Guide to Fireplace Safety

Every winter we look forward to decking the halls and cozying up by the fire with a book and a blanket. However, there are some very important precautions to take to ensure fireplace safety in hearth and home. Whether you are using a gas, electric, or wood-burning fireplace, each requires its own set of safety precautions to take before lighting the yule log.

Check the Damper

While preparing your fireside, make sure the flue and damper are open so that the smoke is drawn up and out of the chimney rather than back into your living room. Remember never to close the damper while any embers are still burning for continued fireplace safety, as any fumes still leftover can creep throughout the house. If at all possible, keep a window open while the fire is burning to prevent noxious odors and dangerous inhalants from spreading. You can easily check the damper yourself by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. If you’re not completely sure whether your flue is venting properly, feel free to contact your local National Property Inspections professional.

Wood Burning Fireplace Safety

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, one safety tip is to never burn wet or green wood, as it billows smoke when it burns, ruining a peaceful night by the fireplace. Old, dry wood burns evenly and with far less noxious smoke. Although counter-intuitive, the smaller the pieces of wood you use, the faster they burn and the less smoke they produce. You may be replacing your logs more frequently, but without the discomfort of inhaling smoke and cinder.

Keep it Clean

Another important fireplace safety tip is to clean out the ashes from previous fires. Although it is a simple chore, it is vital to remove ashes to at least one inch in height because any more will result in choking the air supply to the logs, creating additional harmful smoke. Remember, coals can stay hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so be sure to wait until they have cooled completely before scooping. If you don’t want to deal with the grime and residue, contact National Property Inspections for an evaluation today.

Child Fireplace Safety

Whether your fireplace runs on wood, gas, or electricity, it is essential never to leave any of these unattended, especially if there are children in the home. Minimize their risk of of unjury by installing a safety screen in front to minimize their chances of getting too close. The same attention must be paid to fire tools, including matches and igniters; keeping them out of the reach of children is essential for a worry-free winter.

Safety at a Glance

While some enjoy using the fireplace as a direct heat source, it is important to know that the fireplace should never be used as the sole source of heat in the home. For the safety of your fireplace, never leave it burning for more than five hours at a time. When the fire is burning, keep the glass doors open to allow warm air to escape and cool air to draft up into the chimney. Close the grate to ensure rogue sparks don’t fly onto the carpet. Keeping a non-flammable rug next to the fireplace could mean the difference between a simple ember and a full-blown house fire.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local National Property Inspections inspector. Our expert professionals are ready to help make sure your family enjoys another cozy winter by the fire.

Do you have any tips for fire safety that we missed? Comment below!