A fireplace is a beautiful and very efficient addition to any household. Not only does it keep you and your family warm during cold winter nights, but it also creates a beautiful ambiance to your house. A fireplace brings families together for the creation of the most memorable moments such as storytelling, watching movies and game nights. However, fun as it may be, a fireplace can also be a source of great damage to a household when mishandled. In the USA, 74 % of fire accidents occurred in the house. It is, therefore, crucial to take all the necessary fireplace safety precautions to avoid any incidents. Here are five categories of fireplace safety tips to consider:
The chimney allows the smoke from a wood burning fireplace to move safely out of the house, thus preventing chocking ad suffocation. To ensure the chimney is in the right shape you should:
- Check to see that no brick or mortar is missing from the layout of the chimney. An unsteady chimney can give in during a fire leading to immense harm and damage.
- Make sure the chimney cap is set up. These prevent airborne embers and sparks from traveling too far and potentially cause fires or burns.
- Place the debris cap firmly and correctly to prevent any dust particles, animals, rain, and other particles from falling from outside the house into the fire.
- The flue or damper should be open throughout the fire to prevent smoke build up in the house.
- Wash and inspect the chimney at least once a year to be sure that it is in proper condition. You can also wash it more frequently, especially before lighting a fire.
Making the fire
Once you ensure the chimney’s safety, it is time to make the fire. While doing so, there are a few safety tips to consider:
- Use dry and well-aged wood for less smoke emission.
- Smaller wood logs burn faster and emit less smoke and carbon monoxide.
- Avoid burning charcoal in the place of wood. Charcoal can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure the ash layer beneath the wood is less than an inch in thickness. Thick ash can prevent proper air circulation leading to suffocation.
- Use tongs to move the wood pieces around and a shovel to move the ash to avoid accidental burns.
- Avoid burning any non-wood materials such as plastics, cardboard, etc. These items might release toxins when burning that might be harmful to you.
- Do not use any fire accelerants such as kerosene.
- Keep your children and pets away from the fireplace while the fire is on.
- Do not sit too close to the fire as you may end up inhaling a large amount of smoke.
- Have a window open if possible throughout the fire. This helps with air circulation.
- Have a first aid kit on hand, just in case an accident occurs.
You may have to take precautions before, during, or after using your fireplace for a safer experience. They include:
- Always have a fire extinguisher within reach as long as the fire is up.
- Install smoke detectors that will respond whenever the smoke levels in the house are past the acceptable amount.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to take action before any harm occurs.
- Always supervise the fire as long as it is still on.
- Keep the fireplace clear of any flammable or hanging materials such as curtains, wires, fibres, etc.
After the fire
Once you have enjoyed a warm night at the fireplace and the fire is now out, here is what to do to prevent any aftermath accidents:
- Put the ash and embers in a metal can using a shovel. Place this can away from anything flammable, as some embers might still be active.
- Store the firewood away from the fireplace and ideally outside of the house.
- Store all the fireplace accessories such as tongs, shovels, and matchboxes away from the reach of children.
Fireplace safety is necessary for all fireplace owners. By following these tips, you will be keeping you and your family safe at all times. At Superior Stone and Fireplace in Connecticut, we offer fireplace construction, repair and maintenance services. We also give basic training to interested parties on how to ensure maximum safety in their homes. For more information on how to manage a fireplace or other services provided, visit our website or contact us directly. Your safety is our highest priority.