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Fire Safety Tips

While fireplaces are a beautiful addition to any home, it is important to remember that fire itself can still be dangerous. Because of this, fire safety tips should be followed anytime the fireplace is in use. By following these eight fire safety tips, your family and friends can safely enjoy relaxing in front of a roaring fire.

Fire Safety Tips - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps

1. Only burn seasoned firewood

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been chopped, stacked, and allowed to dry out in the elements for at least six months. Doing this reduces the moisture content in the wood and helps it ignite quicker, burn hotter, and produce less smoke. To get the most out of your fire, burn seasoned hardwoods like oak, beech, maple, and ash.

2. Open the damper

The damper should be completely open any time the fireplace is in use; this includes when first lighting kindling or letting a fire extinguish. Opening the damper prevents smoke and gasses such as carbon monoxide from blowing back into your home.

3. Clean out old ash

The firebox should be cleaned out after each fire to remove soot and ash; the amount of ash buildup in the firebox should always be kept to one inch or less. More ash than this can restrict air supply to the fire and prevent complete combustion.

4. Crack a window

When using the fireplace, crack a nearby window one to two inches. Doing so can prevent your home from being airtight and provide oxygen to keep the fire burning strongly.

5. Keep children and pets away

While the whole family can enjoy time spent around the fireplace, small children and pets should never be left alone or unsupervised around the fireplace. Glass doors, grates, baby gates, and other safety barriers can be used to keep little hands – or paws – away from the heat and flames of the fire.

6. Move décor off the mantle

Keep low hanging or flammable décor off of the mantle to avoid accidental fires caused by stray sparks or embers. Curtains, furniture, and other décor should also be kept at least three feet away from the fireplace.

7. Check fire alarms

Fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor of your home, including outside sleeping areas and near any fuel-burning appliances. Alarms should be tested once every six months and replaced every five to seven years to stay up to date with current safety standards.

8. Call a chimney sweep

Regular chimney maintenance such as chimney sweepings and inspections can reduce your risk for chimney fire and make sure your fireplace is burning safely and efficiently. Even if you do not regularly use your fireplace annual maintenance is important; unused fireplaces may be home to birds, squirrels, or other animals that have unintentionally created chimney blockages.

Relaxing in front of the fire is meant to be a shared experience; by following these fire safety tips, your friends and family can enjoy spending time together around a roaring fire for years to come. For more information on fire safety or to schedule your next chimney services, contact Pristine Sweeps today.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers Of Chimney Sweeping Logs

There are dozens of products on the market today that claim to make it easier for homeowners to maintain their fireplace systems. While the ease of use – and low prices – of these products may be tempting, they can in no way replace the services of a professional certified chimney sweep. One such product that claims to replace your chimney sweep is chimney sweeping logs.

The Dangers Of Chimney Sweep Logs - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps

How chimney sweeping logs claim to work

As advertised, chimney sweeping logs seem like a fast, cheap, and easy way to clean your chimney and avoid having it professionally swept. Chimney cleaning logs claim to reduce the amount of creosote in the chimney system; as the log is burned, the smoke generated loosens the creosote and allows it to fall down into the firebox. When the log has been burned, the creosote can safely be swept up with the remaining soot and ash.

If these claims seem too good to be true, it’s because they are. Chimney sweeping logs do not clean as advertised and may end up doing more harm than good to your chimney.

Most flues are not built in straight vertical lines; in addition to a bend at the smoke shelf, some flues have additional turns and curves as they vent to the outside. Unfortunately, this means that the creosote loosened by the chimney sweeping log may not actually make it to the firebox; instead, it can accumulate on the smoke shelf or in the bends of the flue.

Because creosote is extremely flammable, having it accumulate anywhere in the flue can increase the risk of chimney fire. Likewise, creosote stuck in the bends of the flue or on the smoke shelf can be difficult to clean and remove without professional assistance.

Chimney sweeping logs can’t replace professional chimney sweeps

While chimney sweeping logs claim to clean your chimney, they are no substitute for the services of a professional chimney sweep.

“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”

In addition to correctly and completely removing soot, ash, and creosote from the flue, professional chimney sweeps can also inspect and evaluate your chimney system. Because so much of the chimney is nearly impossible to see or inaccessible from the ground, it is important to work with a professional who can inspect these hard to reach areas of the chimney – as well as understand what they are looking at. Certified chimney sweeps can evaluate the condition of your entire chimney system; in many cases, they can help spot small areas of deterioration before it turns into major damage.

When it comes to chimney maintenance, nothing can replace the expertise of a certified chimney sweep. Instead of trusting your family’s health and safety to a $20 log from a big box store, trust the experts at Pristine Sweeps to care for your fireplace and chimney system. Contact us today to schedule your next chimney sweeping appointment.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment