Whether you’re a proud new homeowner with a new fireplace or a seasoned fireplace operator, it’s a good idea to review fireplace safety tips. Proper fireplace operation keeps your fire at the highest level of efficiency and safety.
Proper Fuel is Top-Priority
Choosing the right wood is crucial to your fireplace experience. You should only burn properly seasoned wood. Seasoned wood has been cut and set aside to dry for at least six months before burning. This insures the wood burns completely, leaving less residue in the chimney flue, and releasing less smoke and particulate pollution.
If you don’t have the equipment or trees to cut your own wood, you may be able to find a local source. By visiting the location and observing the wood before making your purchase, you can insure that the wood is properly seasoned. Wood suitable for burning will become cracked, begin pulling away from the bark, appear gray in color, and will produce a hollow sound when hit together.
Know Your Chimney and How it Works
Your chimney works because of a draft flowing up the chimney, venting the byproducts from the fireplace. The draft can be manipulated by many variables. Some variables are manipulated on purpose, like a damper and glass doors. Other variables, such as home appliances, can affect your chimney’s updraft. Be aware of open doors and windows that may also compete with the chimney’s draft.
Fireplace Safety Tips to Remember
There are other things you can do to create the best and safest fireplace experience possible:
- Control the flame using the damper, vent openings, or glass doors. These parts of your fireplace can keep your flame from becoming too hot and possibly dangerous.
- Never leave the fireplace unattended. Before going to bed or leaving the house, you should be sure the fire is put out or the door securely closed to prevent sparks and heat from leaving the fireplace or stove.
- Invest in special fireplace tools that allow you to work with your wood and fire. The long-handled tools will protect your hands and face by keeping them farther away from the flame.
- Remove ashes as needed to prevent hot ashes, cinders, and logs from falling from your fireplace or stove and causing burns or damage.
- Schedule routine maintenance to insure your chimney and fireplace are cleaned and in good working condition. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends an annual chimney inspection, and regular chimney sweeps as needed in order to maintain the highest level of safety and efficiency.
The best way to use your fireplace is correctly and consistently. You should teach your family and guests to not throw trash or other items into the flame. It is only for wood! You should set a precedent in your home that only specific people (who are properly taught) are allowed to light and maintain the fire in your fireplace.