Are You Practicing Proper Fireplace Safety?

February 6, 2020 10:47 am Published by

Who doesn’t love curling up in front of the flickering glow of a fire in the hearth or the warmth of a wood stove as winter rages outside? Listening to the logs crackling, feeling the warmth, and dozing by the fire is part of the charm of these long New England winters. Unfortunately, with the comfort and supplemental heat from a fireplace or wood stove comes some level of risk. Are you practicing wood stove fireplace safety? 

Fireplaces are home amenities that need to be taken very seriously. Without proper maintenance and inspections, your fireplace or wood stove could become a fire risk. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recent data has shown that there is, on average, one home fire every 86 seconds. We do not want you to become one of those statistics. 

Here are a few tips that will allow you to continue to enjoy cozying up by the fire without fear of damage that can be caused by improperly maintained fireplaces/wood stoves. 

Clear the Area 

One of the first things homeowners should do is to clear the area around the fireplace or stove of anything that would be considered combustible. This would include: papers, magazines, stuffed animals, curtains, drapes, furnishings, and so on. Keep these items at least 3 feet away from the fire area. For fireplaces, use a metal mesh screen to keep sparks from entering your living space. Fire retardant rugs around the area are also a good idea in case sparks do find their way out of the fireplace.

smoke detector

Check Your Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers 

Before lighting up your first fire of the year, take a moment to check that your fire extinguishers are still in good condition and that all of the smoke and CO monitors have a fresh set of batteries. Keep the fire extinguishers within reach of the fireplace in case a worst case scenario should occur. 

Conduct Regular Inspections 

Every year homeowners should be checking the flue, damper, and wood stove piping/components to be sure that everything is in good working order. Always confirm that there are no animal nests in the chimney or piping before lighting up your first piece of wood. 

Reduce Chimney Build-Up 

Reduce the tar-like material called creosote from building up in your chimney by avoiding green or wet wood. When laying the firewood, use dry, cured hardwoods like oak, elm or maple. These will burn cleaner and longer than softwoods like pine, spruce and cedar. Also, building smaller fires can help since they produce less smoke, and in turn, less creosote.

Dispose of Ashes Responsibly

After you have enjoyed an evening of warming by the fire, dispose of the ashes in a metal container outside of your home. Never leave a fire burning. Always wait until the last embers are out and use the standard metal fireplace tools to clean the ashes out. 

We all love a warm, flickering fire but be sure to follow these general guidelines so you won’t suffer the devastation of a home fire. Check out our website for more info.