Fireplace safety is critically important this time of year. About half of existing single-family homes in the United States have a fireplace and, though the number has declined slightly in recent years, just more than 40% of newly constructed houses still include at least one fireplace. A crackling fire adds aesthetic ambiance to a home, provides an independent source of indoor warmth and can boost the resale value of a home, particularly in cold climates.
Fireplaces aren’t going away — and neither is the need to be aware of issues related to fireplace safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind as fireplace weather approaches here in eastern North Carolina.
- Schedule an annual fireplace inspection. Before the winter season sets in, have a fireplace professional inspect and clean the chimney to remove combustible residue from last season that could trigger a chimney fire. The fireplace safety inspection includes checking the structural condition of the chimney, which supports proper operation of the fireplace damper and other components.
- Move flammable items like furniture or other materials that may have been placed near the fireplace during the off-season a safe distance away.
- Burn seasoned wood that has been dried for at least six months. Dry wood supports fireplace safety by burning cleaner and producing less smoke than green wood with a high water content.
- Don’t burn plastics, fabrics, painted wood, or trash in the fireplace. These materials may release toxic fumes when burned and/or may blaze excessively.
- Improve fireplace safety by installing a glass fireplace door or placing a metal screen in front. This keeps sparks and embers inside the fireplace and small children and pets away from the fire.
- Don’t leave smoldering embers in an unattended fireplace. Scoop remaining hot ashes and embers into an approved metal ash container with a metal lid. Place the container outdoors on a concrete surface, away from flammable materials.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of the home and test them monthly.
While staying cozy and comfortable in front of a crackling fire this winter, don’t forget fireplace safety. This informative article brought to you by Jackson & Sons Heating and Air.Is Temperature Balance Between Inside and Outside Important? » « What If Your HVAC System Generates Too Much Heat?