Using your fireplace sounds pretty crazy when you put it that way, doesn’t it? After all, your fireplace is just a box inside the walls of your home. A lot of homeowners choose not to have their fireplace or chimney inspected each year, calling it a waste of money because nothing can go wrong. We have seen things go very, very wrong. The object of this blog post today isn’t to scare you, though; it’s to share these fireplace and chimney safety tips:
Choose Home Decor Wisely: Never, ever use combustible decor near the fireplace. Anything that can catch fire (combust) needs to be at least three feet from the fire box opening. This will prevent your holiday decorations from turning a happy holiday into an emergency phone call and a burned home.
Only Burn Seasoned Wood: Firewood is considered “seasoned” when it contains 20% humidity or less. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut and split for at least six months, preferably longer.
Only Burn Firewood: Don’t burn trash and other miscellaneous items in the fireplace or the wood stove. This is very bad for your appliance and for the chimney as well.
Build Your Fire up Slowly: The more efficiently you build your fire, the better it will burn. Build it slowly and stack the wood properly so it will burn efficiently. Otherwise you’re probably burning through wood pretty quickly.
Install Fire Protection Guards: Embers often pop out of the fireplace and land on the floor or rugs… or pets, or children, or furniture. You get the idea. Fire protection guards like a fireplace screen or glass doors will help protect from jumping embers.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors: Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer for good reason. It has no odor at all and can infiltrate your home through normal fireplace or wood stove use. There are also several other ways carbon monoxide can enter your home, making it very important to have a detector. Smoke does have an odor, but don’t rely on your sense of smell to wake you up in the middle of the night if there’s a fire. Smoke alarms are required by building codes to protect your family. Use them.
Hire a Chimney Sweep at Least Once a Year: Schedule a CSIA Certified chimney sweep at least once a year for a chimney inspection and cleaning. A chimney inspection is recommended even if you never use your chimney because the weather really wreaks havoc on the structure of your chimney. Elemental damage happens every time it rains, snows, or there’s ice. Wind even plays a part in damaging your chimney. An annual inspection will help you protect your family in case the chimney’s structural integrity is compromised.
Give us a call here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.