Even if you have operated a fireplace for years, have a perfectly safe and functional chimney system, and keep up with regular maintenance appointments, you can still be at risk for fire.
Wood heat can be one of the best options for home heating, especially if you have wood readily available. Wood heat means a wood fire, which can become dangerous quickly, and carelessness and bad habits can put you, your family, and your property at risk this winter.
Keep these tips in mind to stay safe this winter:
- Proper Fuel: You should only burn properly seasoned wood in your wood-burning fireplace or stove. This means your wood should be cut and set aside to dry before it’s burned. This cuts down on creosote buildup, increases heat output, raises chimney efficiency, and decreases fire risk.
- No Trash: Your fireplace or stove is specifically designed to burn wood. When you burn trash, clothes, etc. in your fireplace it often doesn’t burn completely, causing more debris in the chimney and denser smoke, that may have trouble rising up the chimney.
- No Lighter Fluid: You should never use any type of fuel such as gas, kerosene, lighter fluid, or oil to light your fire. Firstly, it is extremely dangerous and can cause a larger flame than anticipated, resulting in injury and fire. If you’re fires aren’t successful or you try multiple times before lighting your fire consider building a top-down burn or use an industry-manufactured starter log, safely designed for burning.
- Control the Flame: You can control your flame with the damper, as well as the fan and vent. The damper can prevent a roaring fire from rising up the flue and igniting creosote or debris in the chimney. Also, by closing the vents on your wood stove, you can decrease oxygen to the fire, controlling the flame.
- Never Leave a Fire Unattended: Wood stoves, especially pellet stoves are designed for continuous use without attention, however this is not the case with a fireplace. A fireplace should never be left to burn unattended. Be sure your fire and coals are completely out before leaving the house or going to bed at night.
- Protect Yourself: Protect your face, hands, and arms from burns with tools and accessories to use with your fire. You can purchase tools such as a shovel, brush, and poker that feature long handles to allow you to work with your fire from a distance. There are also heat resistant gloves that range from wrist-length all the way to the elbows for added protection. Check your local home improvement store for merchandise that can help you.
The very best way to protect against fire in your home is to practice common sense. Treat fire as the dangerous thing that it is and your guests and children will follow suit. Set a good example by practicing good habits, as well as maintaining routine maintenance to keep your chimney and fireplace in safe working order. Schedule these appointments with a certified chimney sweep today.
To schedule an appointment with on our expert technicians call 410-535-0052 or schedule online.