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!