3 Fireplace Safety Tips

shutterstock_302177552As temperatures drop, may people turn to their fireplaces for a little inexpensive help with the heating. However, fireplaces can be extremely dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, check out these fireplace safety tips.

Only Use Appropriate Firewood

Only use firewood and burning logs in your fireplace, and make sure they are properly treated (dried.) It may be tempting to toss your Christmas tree in there, but that wood isn’t properly treated and can create a lot of smoke. Never toss charcoal, gasoline or garbage into your fireplace. These can release dangerous chemicals and fumes into your home. It may seem like a good idea to throw papers with personal information into the fire instead of shredding them; however, paper that is on fire often takes flight, so the burning paper could fly out of your fireplace and into your home, leading to a fire.

Know How to Use the Damper

The damper on your chimney is designed to prevent cold air from entering your home when you aren’t using your fireplace. Typically, it will be closed most of the time. However, when you use your chimney, you need to make sure your damper is open and functioning properly. Burning a fire with a closed damper causes smoke and deadly carbon monoxide to enter your living space, which can lead to death.

Have Your Chimney Cleaned and Examined

Last, before you start using your chimney, hire a professional to have it cleaned and examined. Chimney fires are usually caused by creosote, which collects on the inside of the chimney. This substance can burn hot and fast. In fact, creosote can burn at in incredible 2,000 degrees, which is the same as a blow torch. A routine inspection and cleaning can eliminate this creosote, which decreases the risk of fire. Plus, during the inspection, the contractor can look for any lose bricks, cracks or other damage that could cause fire or health problems.

There’s nothing quite as cozy as snuggling up by your fireplace during the cold winter. However, a house fire is anything but cozy, so learning how to properly care for your fireplace is a must if you expect to use it safely.

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