It’s important to observe fireplace safety throughout the year, but even more so now that a lot of us use candles, space heaters, and have many flammable objects in our living rooms. Avoid accidents and enjoy many more holidays with your family by following some of these fireplace safety guidelines.
Make sure your fireplace undergoes a YEARLY maintenance. This includes an inspection by a chimney specialist, which can help detect any cracks in the bricks and mortar of your fireplace and chimney. Any problems must be repaired before you use your fireplace. Also ask a chimney sweet professional to inspect your chimney and look for obstructions like birds nests and to look for creosote buildup. Creosote is caused when there isn’t enough air to burn the wood efficiently, and buildup can pose as a serious fire hazard.
Before you start a fire, keep all combustible and flammable materials like paper, logs, kindling, and carpet at least 3 feet away from the fireplace. Make sure the grate and iron is arranged so the logs can’t roll off by accident.
Use just enough gas or wood to keep your fire at the desired temperature. While roaring fires may be romantic, these can start chimney fires because they increase the amount of creosote deposit and soot in the flue.
Never use gasoline or flammable liquid to rekindle a fire. Remember that flammable vapor can explode and flammable liquid can travel the length of a room.
Always keep the damper open while the fire is burning to prevent the accumulation of explosive and poisonous gas. This also promotes efficient burning of fuel.
Before throwing out the ashes, make sure that they have thoroughly cooled down. Keep the ash in a metal container with a lid to prevent a fire and store it in a sturdy place. Ash makes excellent fertilizer for gardens so it’s a good idea to keep them around for the spring. Make sure that the fire is out completely before everybody goes to bed upstairs.