Everyone loves a roaring fire. But it is very important to make sure that you follow some safety precautions. All fireplaces require maintenance to keep them clean and safe.
Have your chimney inspected
It is very important to have your chimney inspected annually. Have a seasoned professional inspect it to see if it needs sweeping and cleaning. It is important to keep it clear of any obstructions and of creosote.
Install a chimney cap
It is very important to have a cap on your chimney. This will keep debris and animals out of your chimney. Squirrels or birds might be tempted to make nests in your chimney, so make sure to cap it and keep them out.
It is very important to have sturdy set of fireplace tools when you are making a fire in your fireplace. You will need to add logs into the hot fire. You may also need to reposition the logs which are already burning. You may want to get a tool set which has a shovel and fireplace broom to clean the ashes. Make sure to do this only when the fire is completely out.
Depending on the size of your hearth, it is probably a good idea to put some fireproof hearth rugs down in front of your fireplace. This way, if a spark makes its way out of the fireplace, you will not have to worry about it starting a fire.
It is very important to have a grate of some sort which will cover the opening of your fireplace. There are all sorts of grates or glass doors which will keep the burning embers and sparks in the fireplace where they belong. Make sure that you do not burn anything in a fireplace which does not have such protection.
Clear the Area
Before you make your fire, make sure that the immediate area is clear of any decorations or flammable matter. It is lovely to hang the stockings with care on the fireplace mantle, but it is dangerous while having a fire. Make sure to remove them.
Also, be sure that there are no newspapers or kindling to close to the fire. You do not want a spark to accidentally catch anything on fire.
Building a safe fire
As with much in life, don’t overdo it. A huge roaring fire is lovely to look at, but can be dangerous. Do not build a fire that is too big for your fireplace. You do not want any logs to roll out and cause a house fire.
Do not use any chemicals to get the fire started. Never use lighter fluid or anything of that sort to start a fire in your fireplace.
Fire and Smoke Detectors
If you are going to use your fireplace, make sure that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. You will want to have one on each floor and one outside of sleeping areas.
Common sense precautions
- Open the damper before you start the fire
- Keep small children and pets away from the fireplace
- Do not burn garbage or Christmas trees in your fireplace
- Do not use any chemical accelerant in your fireplace
- Make sure that the fire is completely out before you close the chimney damper
- Make sure that the fire is completely out before you leave the house or go to sleep
- Never leave a fire unattended
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy
If you use some common sense and some caution, you will have lovely fires in you fireplace for years to come. If you would like some more information, please visit homebuying.about.com/od/fireplacesafety.
Please note that this is a only guide to fireplace safety. You should check with your local fire department or chimney maintenance professional, among others, for complete fireplace safety.