Winter is here. If you plan on lighting your fireplace, make sure that you keep your home safe with these home fire safety tips.
As the winter brings down temperatures into the ridiculously cold, you may be tempted to light your fireplace. Additionally, with natural gas prices continuing to rise, you will likely be looking for ways to your heat your home without breaking the bank. But before you spark up those logs, you have to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are ready to work. Fireplaces are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. Make sure yours is ready to go by following these tips for home fire safety.
- Hire a Chimney Sweep
Your chimney should be swept at least once a year to ensure that smoke and the other toxic gasses released have a proper escape route to the outdoors. A proper sweep should be conducted at the beginning of winter to remove soot, creosote, and other debris that has built up over the year.
- Cap the Chimney
In order to keep things like leaves, little critters, and other outside debris, your chimney should be fitted with wire mesh to cover the top and sides of the chimney. The top of the chimney should also have a cap that keeps the rain out. Otherwise, you may find a family of raccoons or squirrels that have made your home their home as well.
- Burn Hardwoods
Dense wood, like oak, that’s been split and stored in a dry place burns better and creates fewer toxins than resinous softwoods which create a lot of soot and creosote when lit. Creosote is a flammable, carbon-based chemical that is the byproduct of burning wood. The softer and more resinous it is, the more creosote is produced.
- Don’t Overload
Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote and soot buildup. A small fire may take longer to heat up your home, but it is controllable, thus safer. A big fire may send flames through the safety gate and pose a risk to your home.
- Build It Right
Place logs at the back of the fireplace and set-up the metal gate at all times. Do not use lighter fluid to start indoor fires, rather use kindling and build from the ground up.