If your idea of a perfect winter night involves relaxing by a warm fire, you’re in good company. Whether a fireplace is your primary way to stay warm or a supplement to your main heating system, enjoy the warmth the right way by taking the following safety measures.
- Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace, get your chimney inspected annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Make sure the mantel and area around the hearth is clear of debris, decorations and combustible materials.
- Keep an eye on small children when a fire is burning, and keep them away from fireplace tools. Consider installing a childproof fireplace gate.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Remember to put it out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Install smoke detectors on every floor of your house as well as inside and outside of bedrooms.
- If your wood-burning fireplace has glass doors, leave them open when burning a fire. This helps ensure that the fire receives enough air and prevents creosote — a gummy substance created during the burning process — from building up in the chimney.
- When the glass doors are open, make sure the metal mesh screen is closed. This will help contain the embers.
- Never start a fire with flammable liquids. Never burn trash, debris or cardboard boxes.
- Avoid using soft, moist wood, which accelerates the buildup of creosote. Use seasoned hardwood instead.
- If you have an unvented gas fireplace, make sure you open at least one window for air circulation.
Source: American Home Shield