A fireplace or wood stove is wonderful to have during the cold winter months. It’s so nice to be able to start a fire to get rid of that early morning or late night chill. September is already here, and fall weather is settling in nicely. Please don’t light the first fire this season without a thorough chimney inspection and cleaning. Call me any time to schedule an inspection and cleaning before cooler weather turns to cold weather.
Any heat source should be shielded from little hands and curious pets. The fireplace and wood burning stove are no different. They are potentially deadly to animals, children, and people who have no respect for the devastating properties of fire in general. Here are some ways to keep everyone safe around your fireplace or wood burning stove:
Manufacturer’s Instructions and Building Codes: These two pieces of information are compiled for your safety; not as a means to cost you more money and cause headaches. Manufacturer’s instructions act as a guideline for the particular product you’re using. Any use outside those parameters will render any type of warranty void and useless. Building codes are in place to protect the structure of your home as well as the inhabitants.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Heat Sources: Your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover your home in the event of a house fire if it is discovered that your fireplace or wood burning stove was incorrectly installed. Make sure the fire marshal approves of the placement and installation of your heat source.
Install Fire Screens on Fireplaces: A fire screen prevents burning embers from popping out of the fireplace and landing on a child, pet, or the carpet. Embers create flame very quickly once they pop out of the fireplace.
Install a Tool Rack: You need the same set of tools whether you use a fireplace or wood burning stove. A tool rack offers you a safe spot to store the sweeper, shovel, and poker out of reach of small children.
Education: The single most important thing you can do to teach fire safety in your home is to actually teach it. Children and pets are capable of learning that fire is hot and dangerous, and that they must stay away from it. Pets may be more difficult, because they are naturally drawn to the warmth. A fireplace screen is an absolute must.
Schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection during a time that you won’t forget it. Most homeowners choose to schedule this on the same day they change batteries in their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. You may choose to schedule on the first day of fall so it is fresh on your mind, or some time during the summer so you’re good to go when fall weather hits.