In last week’s blog, I shared tips for using and caring for your wood and pellet stoves safely. In addition to these stoves, many homeowners also use fireplaces during the colder months as a source of heat. Just like wood and pellet stoves, fireplaces can also put a home at risk if not maintained or used properly. Here are 6 safety tips for keeping your home warm and safe with a fireplace during the fall and winter months.
- Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned professionally. Before you begin to use the fireplace for the season, have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean it. It’s important to ensure the chimney is clear of any obstructions and creosote.
- Give your fireplace some space. We can’t stress enough the importance of keeping flammable objects at least 3 feet from a burning device. This includes fireplaces. Make sure furniture, drapes, bedding, carpet, decorations, etc. are placed far enough from the fireplace to not spark a fire. To reduce sparks and embers from leaving the fireplace, use a fireplace screen.
- Start and burn a safe fire. Before lighting a new fire, clean out ashes from any previous fires and dispose of properly. Use kindling or a firestarter to get the fire going, then add dry seasoned wood on top. Keep the glass doors open during the fire, but ensure the fireplace screen remains closed during burning. Once the fire has finished burning, do not close the damper until all the embers have gone out.
- Keep your burning to a minimum. Avoid burning your fireplace for an extended period of time, especially overnight. Also, do not leave the fire unattended when burning. Before going to bed or leaving the house, make sure the fire is completely out.
- Protect yourself. When using the fireplace, make sure you use the fireplace tools and gloves to move burning logs or add new logs. Don’t burn anything other than dry seasoned wood in the fireplace. Burning combustible items could put you and your family at serious risk.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and check to ensure they are working properly. Make sure you test them monthly and change out the batteries routinely. Monitored smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can provide greater peace of mind, and can also be tied in to your existing Select Security SmartHome system.
Customer Relations Representative and Volunteer Firefighter