When the weather outside is frightful, a fire is so delightful! However, it’s vital to take precautions with fireplaces and wood stoves. Here are tips to help keep everyone around your hearth and your home safe.
Get annual inspections and cleaning when needed
When’s the last time your chimney was inspected and cleaned? Your flue may be out of sight but it shouldn’t be out of mind!
Frequency of cleaning depends on how much you use your fireplace or wood stove. The National Fire Protection Association advises homeowners to get an inspection once a year and have cleaning done as necessary.
If you don’t use your fireplace very often, don’t think you can skip the inspection. Birds and other critters may have been using your chimney while you weren’t! Debris from their nesting activity could make it unsafe to use your fireplace.
Only burn seasoned wood
Wood that is not seasoned, or dried, doesn’t burn well. If you try to burn it, you’ll get a lot of smoke and little heat. Plus, the tars and creosote from the wood won’t get burned up and will accumulate inside your flue pipe and chimney.
To make sure your split wood is dry enough to burn safely, allow it to season for six months to a year. When stacking firewood, make sure there is room for air to circulate around both ends of the logs. Also, keep the wood raised up off the ground. A log rack or pallet works well.
Check your detectors
Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. In case of a fire or ventilation problems, these devices help save lives. If someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, learn more about smoke alarms that warn them of a fire with strobe lights or vibrations here.
After you give your chimney the TLC it needs, cozy up in front of your fire and enjoy the glow!
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