‘Tis the season for celebrating with loved ones, eating too much, and curling up by the fireplace. But before you get that crackling fire roaring, don’t forget to go over some basic fireplace safety tips first. Whether it’s a gas, electric, or wood-burning stove, it’s always wise to have a refresh on how to ensure your home and loved ones remain safe and warm throughout the cold winter months. Here are our top tips to remember this season!
Only Burn Designated Fireplace logs
Though you may be tempted to throw on some of that old wrapping paper or other bits and pieces lying around, remember that certain items can release toxic fumes when burned. That’s why it’s imperative only to burn designated wood in your fireplace and never place any other objects on the fire. The wood should also be dry and well-aged. Even damp wood can lead to smoke and soot buildup. The drier the wood is, the better. Also, smaller pieces of wood should be used to cut down on the amount of smoke that’s produced.
Keep Holiday Decorations at a Safe Distance
That garland and holly may look festive around your mantel, but it can also become a potential fire hazard if it’s not hung securely. Keep your decorations at a safe distance and go for a slow, steady burn when making the fire instead of an intense flame to keep it safe.
Remember to Open the Damper Before Lighting
Before igniting the fire, be sure to open up the damper. Keep it open until the fire is completely out and the ashes have cooled down. For even more airflow, keep a window open a few inches nearby. The open window will help to dilute any gases and reduce the total amount of smoke and fumes that can build up in your home.
Keep the chimney and area around It clean
Don’t place anything in or around the immediate area. Keep a broom handy to sweep up any soot and don’t forget to have your chimney serviced and cleaned each year to prevent any buildup. This goes for gas fireplaces too. Leftover ash should be removed as well. Otherwise, it will collect at the base and reduce the air supply to the logs, causing more smoke to form. To remove the ashes, simply shovel them up once they have been left to cool, place them in a bag and dispose of them in the trash. You can also use a vacuum if necessary to clean up any remaining ashes that are left in the firebox and hearth.
Use A Mesh Screen
To prevent embers from landing on any nearby items or furniture, place a mesh screen in front of the fire when lit at all times. If you have kids or pets in the house, don’t forget to add a protective safety screen to the outside of your fireplace. This will help to prevent any burn accidents from occurring.
Install Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Have your fire and carbon monoxide detectors installed nearby and check the batteries at least once per year to ensure they are functioning properly.
Store Wood at a Distance
Keep any pieces of wood and paper well away from your fireplace. And never use any lighter fluid or fuel to ignite the fire.
Check For Pests Regularly
If it’s been a few days since you’ve had a fire, it’s wise to take a look inside the chimney to ensure that there are no nests or other blockages that could prevent the smoke from moving up and out of your chimney. Raccoons and bats are common intruders, so be careful when you inspect your chimney.
Have The Fireplace Inspected Annually
Don’t forget to have the fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional each and every year before you light up any logs. An annual inspection will ensure that your fireplace and chimney are in good working condition and there are no immediate risks that could cause a fire or injury.
Never Leave A Fire Unattended
This is always a priority when lighting a wood fire. When a fire is burning or smouldering, you should never leave it unattended. It only takes a few seconds for something to catch fire or for someone to become seriously injured. So be sure to wait until the fire is completely out before walking away.
It’s well worth it to go over your safety checklist each year before lighting up your fireplace. And in the case of a fire, are you covered? At Rowat Insurance, we can provide the coverage you need at the best price to safeguard your home and loved ones this winter season. Contact us today to learn more or request a quote.