7 safety tips for wood-burning fireplaces

Who doesn’t love the warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter night? However, enjoying the benefits of a fire also comes with great responsibility. Making sure your fireplace is safe each year is a good start. Keep your fire safe all winter long with the following fireplace maintenance and safety tips:

Have the chimney checked annually and cleaned by a professional if necessary.

While this may seem like an unnecessary expense, having your chimney WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) certified can be beneficial to your insurance rates. Regular cleaning and inspection of your chimney can also prevent expensive repairs and fire damage.

Install a chimney cap to keep animals or birds from blocking the chimney.

Chimneys can be the perfect place for raccoons, squirrels and other small animals and birds. Chimney caps with screens can prevent them from entering the chimney and causing a blockage. Also, a chimney cap can prevent rain from entering the chimney and eating away at the mortar and bricks.

Use a fireplace grate.

Concrete is a very durable surface, but even if exposed to fire for a long time, it will spoil it. A fireplace grate provides better protection for the fireplace by protecting the floor from direct heat, saving you money on replacement costs and extending the life of the fireplace.

Have a fire extinguisher nearby and install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Chimney fires are responsible for millions of dollars in home and contents damage each year. Having a fire extinguisher nearby and detecting problems early with a smoke or carbon monoxide detector can help ensure the safety of your family.

Remove the ashes after each fire

Give the ashes at least 24 hours to cool before removing them from the fireplace. Store the ashes in a non-flammable container outside the house until you can properly dispose of them.

Clear the area around the fireplace from flammable objects and materials.

Everyday items such as plastic toys and plants, paper and liquids such as nail polish and removers are extremely flammable and should be kept well away from your fireplace. Even a small spark can set these items on fire.

Do not close the valve until the embers have completely burned out.

Embers can stay hot for up to two days after a fire. The damper should be left open, even when no fire is burning, to prevent carbon monoxide from remaining in your home. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED!

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If you follow the tips above, your family can enjoy the crackling and beauty of a wood fire while you feel safe and protected.