For the safety of you and your home, you should have your fireplace and chimney inspected once a year for any issues. You should also have your chimney swept as necessary. Between those inspections and cleanings, there are other things you can do to keep it looking and working its best.
All Fireplaces and Chimneys
There are safety precautions to take when it comes to having a fireplace and chimney in your home. Never leave a fire unattended. If by any chance it does start to spread outside of the fireplace, you could end up with your home burning as well. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy in your house just in case!
Keep the Area Clear
Keep the area around the fireplace clear of papers or other debris. This can attract sparks out of the fireplace and to places they don’t need to be. This also goes for decorations above and around the fireplace. Around the holidays, it’s tempting to hang garland and other flammable items around the area of the fireplace, and place plants and such in front of it as well. Just be cautious of what is around it and make sure it is far enough away that it won’t cause the fire to spread.
If your fireplace doesn’t have a glass door, use a mesh wire screen to help keep the sparks contained. Try not to ever have your fireplace or stove completely open with no barrier. You’ll still feel just as much heat from the fire if you have a screen, than if you left it open with nothing protecting it.
Building a Fire
Before building your fire, make sure the damper is open. That lets smoke release out of the chimney. When placing logs in the fireplace, put enough to make a fire that is the correct size for your fireplace. Burning too much wood can make too hot of a fire and damage your fireplace, or start to spill out of the fireplace.
What Not to Burn
Try to use seasoned wood that has been aged for about 6 months, to a year. Also, never burn wet, rotted, moldy, or diseased wood. This can give off gases that are harmful to you. Other items can release chemicals as well – such as wrapping paper, magazines, trash, boxes, and green wood (such as Christmas trees).
Masonry or Prefabricated Wood Burning Fireplaces
Masonry and prefabricated wood fireplaces can he different safety precautions. For masonry ones, remove ashes with a metal shovel and make sure to keep the ash in a metal container until it has cooled off. You can then use it as a fertilizer if you want! For prefabricated fireplaces, always read the manufacturer’s directions before starting your fire.
Having a fireplace can bring warmth and style to your home. Make sure you keep your house safe, as well as you and your family, while still enjoying everything a fireplace has to offer!