Using your fireplace is a cozy way to heat your home. Whether you use your fireplace as a primary heat source or only occasionally, it’s important to stay on top of cleaning and maintenance. Below are a few safety tips that will help you keep your fireplace safe.
Leaving about an inch of ash in your fireplace provides insulation, making it easier to build and maintain a fire. However, too much ash will prevent adequate airflow, which is necessary for a fire to burn efficiently. Additionally, ash can trap moisture and create an appealing home for insects when you are not using your fireplace. After the fire has gone out, wait two or three days to allow the ashes to cool before removing them. Using a shovel, scoop ashes into a metal bucket. After they are completely cool, use the ashes around your home or dispose of them in your compost pile.
Burn Hardwoods to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
Creosote is a flammable material that accumulates on the walls of the chimney. Only use dry, seasoned firewood to reduce the build-up of soot and creosote. Do not use wet or green wood as this will result in excess smoke and creosote and contribute to chimney fires. If you are splitting firewood, cover the pile and keep it dry for at least nine months before you burn it.
Don’t use the fireplace for waste disposal. Burning plastics and paper releases chemicals that are harmful to us and the planet. Paper and cardboard will burn and may drift up with the smoke, igniting a fire higher up in the chimney.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
Before building the first fire of the season, test the smoke detectors throughout your home. Press the test button and listen for an alert to sound. Replace the batteries in the devices at least twice every year.
Schedule an Inspection to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
Regardless of your fuel source, any stove or fireplace needs an annual cleaning and inspection if it has a vent or chimney. A licensed chimney sweep checks for nests or obstructions and evaluates the chimney’s condition. The chimney sweep will clear away creosote that has accumulated on the chimney walls. To keep your fireplace safe, schedule an inspection and cleaning before you begin using the fireplace this season.