3 Things To Know About Using Your Fireplace Safely
The dancing flames of the fire flickering in your fireplace create an ambiance like nothing else. Unfortunately, those flames don't always like to stay where they're supposed to. Fireplace safety is one thing that anyone with a fireplace should take the time to learn about. Here, you'll find a few safety tips that can help prevent house fires.
1. The Damper
So many people don't know how to use the damper on the fireplace properly. The damper is a valve that controls the airflow to the fire. When the damper is open, the fire is fueled by more air – when closed, the fire is choked off. Open the damper fully when lighting the fire. Once you get it going, close it partially to allow the smoke to escape, but not the heat. Keep the damper closed when you're not using the fireplace. This will reduce heat loss.
2. What to Burn
What you burn will determine how often your chimney and fireplace need to be cleaned. The wood that you burn must be seasoned for at least six months. This means, the tree was cut down, and the wood was cut and stacked to dry before being burned. If too much moisture remains in the wood, when you burn it, it will create a layer of creosote inside the chimney that will eventually catch fire if you don't have it cleaned.
Don't burn trash in your fireplace. It may be tempting to toss the wrapping paper in the fire on Christmas or to use cardboard to get the fire burning but burning anything other than wood will cause creosote to build up and could release toxic fumes into your home.
3. Inspections and Cleanings
Always have the chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected before you use it for the first time each season. All kinds of critters love to make your chimney into their summer homes, and there's a good chance that they still reside there. A full inspection and cleaning will identify these critters, remove them and find any damage that they may have caused while they were squatting in your chimney.
Always make sure that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and that the batteries are in good working order. These are the things that will keep your family safe in the event of a fireplace malfunction. Enjoy the good times by practicing prevention and safety throughout the year.
For more information, check out a website like http://www.villagefireplaceandbbq.com.