6 Fireplace Safety Tips That Homeowners Forget Too Often
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Winter means cozy gatherings around the fire, hot cocoa and stories of epic snowball fights. Many people decorate their fireplaces for the holidays and use them to keep warm during January, February and beyond.
But how much do you, as a homeowner, understand about basic fireplace safety? If your knowledge is woefully limited, don’t be ashamed: you’re not alone. Protect your family from toxic outgassing, particulate pollution, fire hazards and other dangers by bookmarking these six critical tips:
Get your chimney inspected by a qualified professional before using the fireplace. If your chimney is caked in soot, starting a fire could ignite the residue, causing a serious fire or dangerous smoke. Avoid doing this work yourself; it’s dangerous, and if you do it improperly, you could damage your home.
Check your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month.
Monitor airflow. Try to keep a window in the room cracked while the fireplace is in use. Additionally, make sure your chimney’s flue or damper is open so the smoke from the fire is drawn out of your house. Smoke inhalation is extremely dangerous, so ensure that the smoke from your fireplace finds its way outside.
Use dry firewood. Burn wood that has been aged for a while and that is completely dry. Wet or fresh wood will create more smoke and result in more soot buildup in the chimney. Dry firewood not only creates less smoke, but it also burns more evenly.
Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of any clutter or anything flammable. Investing in a fireplace gate is a great idea if you have small children or pets.
Keep a fire extinguisher readily accessible near the fireplace. Check it regularly to ensure that it still works!
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