Now that we’ve settled into the midst of winter and are cozily snuggling up around our fireplaces, it’s a good idea to follow a few simple tips to help prevent chimney fires and maintain a safe environment for you and your family.
Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually. Hire a trustworthy, recommended chimney sweep to remove soot and debris and to inspect your fireplace for any issues, such as loose bricks or missing mortar.
Burn only firewood. Scraps from construction, trash, debris, painted wood, or treated wood can release chemicals into your home that are harmful to inhale.
Burn only dry, cured wood. This means logs of dense wood that have been split, stacked, and dried for at least eight months. Avoid using soft or moist wood.
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure that your home has smoke detectors on every floor and near the bedrooms. Check periodically to see that the batteries are working properly.
Clear Area. Consistently check to ensure that the area surrounding the fireplace, including the mantel and hearth, are clear of any décor, debris, or combustible items. Purchase a nonflammable rug to put in front of the fireplace in case sparks fly out.
Put Out Fire When Absent. Do not leave a fire unattended. Put it out when you are leaving the house or going to sleep for the night.
Install a Chimney Cap. Your chimney sweep can install a stainless steel chimney cap on top to keep rain, ice, snow, animals, and other unwanted objects out of your chimney and to prevent accumulation of debris, which can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide that flows into the house. If you have a cap, your chimney sweep can inspect it and make any necessary repairs.
Build the Fire Slowly. To burn safely, build the fire slowly and increase the amount of wood as it heats up.
Shield the Fireplace. Put a shield, such as a glass grate, around the fireplace to prevent sparks from flying out.
Practice Child Safety. Do not let children play near the fire or play with the fireplace tools. Consider purchasing a gate to put around the fireplace if you have small children.
If you are located in the Gastonia, Charlotte, or Lake Norman areas and are in need of a competent, reliable chimney sweep, call Bob Davis today at 704-777-7195.