Your fireplace can be a source of enjoyment for many years. Few things in life can compare to the simple pleasures of sitting around a cozy fire all snuggled up and feeling warm and content. Fire safety is important to keep in mind roundar around but can be even more important this time of year when many have large flammable objects in the center of their living rooms. The fire safety administration encourages you to practice fire safety when burning your fireplace. The following steps will help keep your home and loved ones safe through the holidays and beyond.
Have your fireplace inspected by a certified masonry professional. An annual inspection by a masonry specialist should be about ( $35.00 ) in this area and many times can be free. Have your fireplace cleaned regularly to avoid dangers creosote buildup, that could cause a chimney fire of over 2000 degrees, cracking your flue liners or catching your house on fire. Check the fireplace at the top for obstructions such as bird nests or overhanging branches. Look for sign of water damage, loose brick, moss growing in joints.
Always use a fireplace screen or glass door when burning your fireplace. Sparks from a fire can shoot out over ten feet causing damage to your carpet, hardwood or worse. If you are burning your fireplace with the glass doors open be sure to close the fireplace screen on your doors. Special fireplace retaining screens can be found to keep your children or pets at a safe distance away from harm.
When building your fires never overload the fireplace with to much wood. Start with a smaller fire that catches quickly and burns safely, adding more wood as needed. Make sure that the fireplace damper is wide open and remain open before lighting that first match, never close your fireplace damper while there is any flame or hot ash still alive in your firebox. Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. Burning charcoal gives off a deadly carbon monoxide gas that can kill you
When choosing firewood a well-seasoned firewood is recommended. It will be generally darker on the ends with visible cracks and splits, making it relatively light. It will be easy to start and produce more heat and burn a cleaner flame. this will reduce the amount of buildup in your flue liners and create a safer burning fire. Greenwood will have high levels of moisture in it, making it hard to start with less heat, Try to find a hardwood that has been dried for at least six months and properly stored. Cleaning your chimney at least once every year will go along way in decreasing dangers formation of creosote buildup.
Keep your fireplace in good working condition will pay off in increased safety and efficiency. if you notice any lose or missing brick or moss growing on top of the fireplace crown, your fireplace is being damaged by water. This happens when water enters the masonry through small cracks. Water damage can be stopped and repaired easily when the problem is found early, Water damage if let go can deteriorate your fireplace to the point that it is unsafe to use.Lose or missing flashing can cause water problems to roofs, ceiling and walls, all costing money to repair or replace.
For more information about fireplace safety, visit the Tim W Masonry web-page and look through the various links on fireplace and chimney repair.