Winter Fireplace Safety Tips for the Home
Winter is here again and for many of us this is a time to open up our homes and enjoy some evenings around a roaring fire with family and friends. The fireplace can be a special place for homeowners, especially around the holidays. Nothing says winter has finally arrived like a house full of guests, hanging greens, and a well tended fire.
However, safety must be a priority when building fires this holiday season. Did you know that more than a quarter of house fires are caused by heating systems? These might include things like a fireplace, wood burning stove, or other type of gas or electric heater.
A reason that chimneys might be a potential fire hazard is that a substance called creosote builds up in them. Before you start using your fireplace this year, check the chimney and even have it cleaned by a professional if it’s been awhile. Use a certified chimney sweep to make sure the job is done right.
While it might seem like a festive idea to trim your hearth with decorations, don’t do it. Keep hearths clear of anything that might be potentially flammable. Also, never use paper or lighter fluid to start your fires.
Most fireplaces have glass or mesh doors in front of them. While burning a fire, leave these doors open to let air circulate. This also helps to keep creosote from building up. When your fireplace isn’t being used, keep the glass or mesh doors closed. This will keep cinders and any lingering sparks inside and children and/or pets safe from burns and other injuries.
A very simple fire safety tip is to never leave your fire unattended. Never go to sleep with a fire burning. After a fire, scoop out the ashes with a shovel and put them in a metal cannister. Let them cool outside at least ten feet from the house.
To prevent other risks, don’t build a wood stack up against your house. If you do have a woodpile, try to get it at least thirty feet away from your house. If there ever is a fire, a wood pile just adds fuel, and you don’t need to give a house fire any advantages.
Furthermore, prevent outdoor fire hazards by keeping your chimney clear of limbs from nearby trees. Put a mesh screen over the chimney to keep debris and animals out of it.
All of these tips are important, but perhaps the most important fire safety measure you can implement in your home is simply to install and maintain smoke alarms. Check the batteries every month with the test button (also to ensure the alarm is functional), and change them out at least once a year, preferably twice a year.
Remember these tips and your fireplace will be a beautiful holiday centerpiece for your family to safely enjoy.
Here at Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, we understand the importance of home. We know that your home is your sanctuary and we want you to be able to enjoy it for years to come. Happy Holidays!