While a crackling fire can heat your home, it can also be considered a hazard if properly not maintained and looked after. Stay warm this winter by following these fireplace safety tips.
Have Chimney Cleaned
Before you light a wood-burning fireplace for the cold months of the year, hire professionals to inspect and clean your chimney. Chemical mass of black residue also known as creosote, can appear over time in the chimney, which can lead to potential ventilation issues and become a fire hazard. Read our Chimney Cleaning and Maintenance Procedures post to learn how to prevent a dirty chimney.
Make sure the fireplace damper is open before lighting the fireplace. This can help start the fire by allowing oxygen to get into the chimney. The damper also lets smoke circulate out of your home. Use a flashlight if you need to, to peek into the fireplace to ensure the damper is fully open. Continue to leave the damper open until the fire has been put out. Close the damper to prevent cold air from entering the home.
Choose the Right Wood
To keep the fire going, it’s important to add the fuel to maintain it. This can be done by using dry and seasoned firewood or newspaper. Wet wood will release smoke rather than keep a fire roaring. Soft wood such as poplar or aspen will burn longer and hotter. When adding wood to the fire, place it carefully on a metal grate and leave sufficient space between the logs so the air can get through.
Prevent Soot Buildup
If you have a gas fireplace, it’s important to avoid soot buildup. This can happen when the ceramic logs are moved out of their original position, leading to improper air flow or clogged ports on the gas burner form soot on the logs and doors of the fireplace. To help prevent soot buildup, clean and inspect your fireplace frequently during winter.
Make sure to keep the area around the fireplace clear with safety screens or a barrier. Create a perimeter around the area to prevent children and pets from getting too close. Keep flammable items such as books, drapes and wrapping paper away from the fireplace.
Additional Safety Precautions
A warm fire can create an inviting and comfortable scene in your home. Just, know that fires can become uncontrollable and can create a horrific scene in your home if not contained. Never leave a fire unattended and make certain everyone knows of where the fire extinguishers in your home are. Make sure the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition. These devices are a crucial part of fire safety.
Don’t forget to create and practice a family emergency plan so you and your loved ones can safely evacuate in the event of a fire and help protect your home with the right insurance. Desjardins Insurance offers a variety of home insurance coverage options to fit your specific needs and lifestyle. Learn more today by contacting a licensed insurance advisor.