A fireplace is one of the most amazing things to install in your home, but they do come with a huge responsibility. If this warm, welcoming place isn’t cared for properly, it could go from a benefit to a health hazard. Here are a few tips to help you use your fireplace safely and correctly.
1. Use a Fire Screen
Fire screens help to keep debris and embers from getting tossed out of the fire. If your fireplace is indoors, this is especially important since you don’t want your house accidentally set on fire by a stray ember.
2. Keep the area near the fireplace clear
To add to your fire screen, you should ensure that the area near the grate is clear of any easily flammable material. Rugs or curtains should be kept at least three feet away from the fireplace for safety.
3. Have a carbon monoxide detector
When you’re caught up in the glow of a flame, it’s easy to miss things like smoke flowing out of the fire. A carbon monoxide detector is just a safeguard in case the carbon monoxide fumes build up too much.
4. Use the right wood
Softwood logs can provide a lot of heat but produce excess smoke and soot buildup. Hardwood logs are usually treated to reduce their moisture content, making them burn with less smoke and soot buildup.
5. Use only local wood for your hearth
Burning imported wood might sound like a good idea, but these logs can carry parasites and pests that could infect the local trees. Stick to buying local wood whenever possible to limit the transport of imported wood across state lines.
6. Have a fire extinguisher on hand
All it takes is a single stray spark to start a fire. A fire extinguisher is just a little added insurance against a fire.
7. Use a cleaning log
Cleaning logs are made from a chemical that dissolves creosote buildup in chimneys. They are an essential part of ensuring your fireplace remains safe.
8. Never leave your fire unattended
Many people know that leaving fires unattended is unacceptable, but they forget this rule regarding a furnace stove. The same restrictions apply. Never leave your fireplace unattended.
9. Don’t overuse fuel
Wood or any other fuel used for your fireplace should be added in moderation. Adding too much fuel creates a hazard and can cause the fire to veer wildly out of control.
10. Don’t burn trash
Trash is meant to be disposed of, but burning some materials could create toxic fumes that would potentially poison those using the fire. Please dispose of your waste correctly, and don’t burn it in your grate.
11. Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire
Lighter fluid, gasoline, or other flammable liquids are not how you start a fire in your hearth. Using them could damage your fireplace and cause you to lose control of the flames.
12. Perform regular maintenance
Inspect and repair your chimney annually to ensure that your grate and chimney remain in their best condition.