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Child-Proofing Your Fireplace

Child-proofing your fireplace is more complicated than adding clips to your cupboards and gates to your stairs. The best way to keep your child safe around your fireplace this winter? Keep them away from it! However, you can only do that when you are with them to redirect and teach them.

Child-Proofing Your Fireplace Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsThe Rules:

  1.  Your child should never be left alone with a fireplace, until is has been out of use for several hours. This is the most important rule for child safety during the burning months.
  2.  Your child should never be allowed to play near the fireplace, not even during summer months! Allowing your child to play on the hearth or near the fireplace when it’s out of use? Then he or she will not understand that it is an unsafe place to play.

Though these are important things to remember, there are definitely many other things you can do to child-proof your fireplace for the winter.

Fire-Proof Baby Gate

There are many great options on the market for baby-gates and play yards that attach to the walls on either side of your fireplace. These come in a variety of styles, colors, and materials. They can also be made to match your home decor and even your fireplace. These gates can be cumbersome when you carry wood to your hearth. So it’s a good idea to install one with an easy opening. However, if you have a gas fireplace, this is a great option and won’t be a hazard to the adults!

Fireplace Screens

Fireplace screens can match your hearth and fireplace and add another level of protection. They are designed to keep catch stray sparks from flying out and causing burns. However, a freestanding screen is not a great option for child-safety, because it can be pulled over onto the child, or the child can fall onto it, into the fire. You can still get a fireplace screen that works for your home. A certified chimney sweep can install a screen that attaches to the fireplace and is still beautiful and functional.

Custom Glass Doors

Glass doors can be a beautiful addition to any fireplace. They allow homeowners to control the heat from the fireplace and still allow the fire to burn. Glass doors heat quickly, though, and although they can protect your child from falling into the fireplace, the glass will still burn anyone who touches it.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

When your fireplace is installed or serviced your certified chimney sweep will most likely mention carbon monoxide detectors. This is an important preventative measure to protect all the people in your home. Carbon monoxide is often called The Silent Killer because the symptoms of poisoning are so subtle that there is substantial damage to the body before the exposure is realized. The best way to protect your family is to install carbon monoxide detectors and to replace the batteries as needed.

Another way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning as well as other breathing issues caused by particulate pollution from fires is to keep the chimney and fireplace clean. By scheduling regular chimney sweeps and inspections with a chimney expert you insure the fireplace is working at it’s most efficient, meaning that it is venting all the waste from the fire up the chimney and it doesn’t come into your home—and your child’s lungs.

At Pristine Sweeps the safety and comfort of our customers is our top priority. Contact Pristine Sweeps today to discuss child-proofing your fireplace. We have a technician that can help.

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

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