It’s fireplace season. With winter right around the corner, you may be thinking about starting a fire in your wood-burning fireplace. At this point you should have taken the steps to get your fireplace in good working order and ready to use To keep you and your family safe while enjoying the warm comfort of your fireplace, it is important to follow a few safety tips along with regular maintenance.
Use Dry Wood: If you store your wood outside it is best to keep it off of the ground and allow proper ventilation. While covering the wood with a tarp is okay if it is raining or snowing, it is a good idea to remove the tarp once the wet weather has eased up, to allow your wood to dry. Dry wood is safer to burn which will help prevent the chimney fires.
Burn Wood Only: Unfortunately many people use their fireplace to burn contents other than wood, such as trash, newspaper, and plastic. For the safest burning fire it is best to only burn wood. There are chemicals used in certain materials that may not only be more flammable and cause an uncontrollable fire, but some materials will emit unsafe fumes when burned.
Start Safe: The best and safest way to start your fire is using a commercial fire starter or matches. It is not recommended to use any other substance to start your fire, especially not lighter fluid.
Contain Your Fire: It is a best practice to keep a mesh screen in front of your fire to keep any ash or debris contained inside of the fireplace. Also, if your fireplace has glass doors, those need to remain open while the fire is going. Even with glass doors, you are still able to place a metal mesh screen in front of your fire to offer proper ventilation, while at the same time containing your fire.
Watch Your Fire: Never leave your fire unattended. You do not want to leave your fire going while you are sleeping or if you leave your home.
Damper: Do not close your damper until your fire is completely out to make sure all the smoke has a chance to escape and does not go into your home.
Let Ash Cool: Before disposing of ash make sure it is completely cool. Dispose of ash only in a covered metal container and store away from your home for optimal safety.
Breathe Safe: Make sure your home has a fully functioning carbon monoxide detector. Also, when burning a fire it is a good idea to crack the nearest window at least a half an inch to let any smoke escape.
Follow these tips to keep your family and home safe while enjoying your wood-burning fireplace insert.