Who doesn’t love the warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter’s night? However, enjoying the benefits of a fire also comes with great responsibility. Making sure that your fireplace is safe each year is a great start. Have safe fires all winter with the following fireplace maintenance and safety tips:
Have the chimney inspected every year and have a professional clean it when necessary.
While this may seem like a needless expense, it can be helpful to your insurance rates to have your chimney W.E.T.T. (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) certified. As well, having your chimney cleaned and inspected on a regular basis can prevent costly repairs and fire damage.
Install a chimney cap to help ensure that animals or birds don’t block the chimney.
Chimneys can make the perfect place for raccoons, squirrels and other small animals and birds. Chimney caps with screens can prevent them from entering the chimney and causing an obstruction. As well, a chimney cap can prevent rain from penetrating into the chimney and eating away at the mortar and bricks.
Use a fireplace grate.
Concrete is a very durable surface, but even still, prolonged direct exposed to fire will ruin it. A fireplace grate allows for better protection of the fireplace by saving the floor from direct heat, saving you money on replacement costs and lengthening the fireplace life expectancy.
Have a fire extinguisher nearby and install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Chimney fires are responsible for millions of dollars each year of home and content damage. Having a fire extinguisher nearby and having early detection of problems by a smoke or carbon monoxide detector can help you ensure the safety of your family.
Clean out the ashes after each fire
Give the ashes at least 24 hours to cool down before removing them from the fireplace. Store the ashes in a non-combustible container outside of the house until you can dispose of them properly.
Clear the area around the fireplace of flammable objects and materials.
Everyday objects like plastic toys & plants, papers and liquids like nail polish & removers are extremely flammable should be kept far away from your fireplace. Even a tiny spark can cause these objects to start on fire.
Do not close the damper until the embers have completely burned out.
Embers can remain hot for up to two days after a fire. The damper should stay open, even if there isn’t a fire burning, to prevent carbon monoxide from staying in your house. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED!
If you follow the above tips, your family can enjoy the crackling and beauty of a wood burning fire, all while feeling safe and protected.