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.
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.