Fireplaces are a practical and cozy heat source during cold winter months. However, heating with the fireplace also poses a few risks to your home and family. Prevent accidents and protect your family with these tips to keep your fireplace safe.
Safety Through Maintaining the Exterior of Your Home
Problems may exist on your roof that you aren’t aware of, which could affect your chimney and make using your fireplace unsafe. If you can access your roof, take a look at its condition. Clear off any twigs or tree branches. You’ll also want to trim trees growing too close to the chimney. Make sure the chimney cap is in place. It helps to prevent rain or snow from entering the home via the chimney. The cap also keeps dirt, debris, and even animal nests out that might cause hazards.
If you cannot access your roof or don’t feel comfortable attempting it, hire a professional to do the inspection for you. A chimney sweep can examine the chimney and perform cleaning and maintenance to keep your home safer.
Develop a Routine Maintenance Schedule
Perform maintenance duties to keep your fireplace safe. Doing so will keep the area clean and prevent fires from getting out of control.
Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to confirm everything is in working condition. Purchase a set of quality fireplace tools. You’ll want to include a shovel, broom, poker, and tongs. These tools will help you manage the fire once you’ve built it.
Use a screen or glass doors in front of the fireplace. You don’t want an ember or sparks to pop out of the fireplace and onto the living room rug.
Take care when cleaning up ashes. Even if they seem cool, they may still be smoldering. Allow the ashes in the fireplace at least 24 hours to cool so you don’t cause a fire by throwing out burning embers.
Tips to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
You and your family will enjoy the fireplace as it provides warmth in cold weather. Keep the area around the fireplace clean and free of toys, furniture, or clutter. Here are a few other tips for safety when using the fireplace.
- Extinguish the fire before leaving the house or going to bed. Never leave a fire unattended.
- Don’t allow pets or children near the fire.
- Do not use accelerants, such as lighter fluid or gas, to start your fire.
- Paper, cardboard, and other garbage should not be burned in a fireplace.
Stay warm and cozy by a crackling fire this winter. Teach your family about basic safety around the fireplace and you can enjoy its warmth all season long.