Top 5 Fireplace Safety Tips

Daniel Crichlow
Written on October 15, 2018

We no longer build fireplaces for physical warmth, we build them for the warmth of the soul; we build them to dream by, to hope by, to home by.”

Edna Ferber

I don’t know about you, but when the leaves start to change color, and the weather becomes colder, I start to get excited, because I know fireplace season is upon us. 

However, fireplaces have caused some serious harm to both person and property. So, how can you ensure you’ll stay safe this fireplace season? Here are my top 5 tips to avoid ruining “The most wonderful time of the year” to ensure you can have “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

1. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected annually by a professional chimney company. 

If you’re planning on using your fireplace this year, the best possible way to stay safe is to have it inspected by a professional. I recommend using Clean Sweep 317 as they are local, honest, knowledgeable, and very professional. They will check for things like that you probably can’t, like creosote buildup, cracks in your chimney liner, and other obstructions that could result in damage if not dealt with properly.

2. Know how and when to use your fireplace damper.

The damper is the mechanism that controls the airflow coming into your chimney and fireplace. When it’s closed, no air can enter the fireplace from the chimney, so always make sure that when you’re starting a fire, and during the entire duration of the fire, the damper is open. If not, harmful smoke will pour back into your home. When you’re not having a fire, be certain the damper is closed because if it is left open, cold air can come into your home bringing potentially dangerous chemicals with it from your chimney.

3. Only use dry seasoned wood in your fireplace. 

If you’re like me, you like to harness your inner lumberjack and chop your own lumber from your backyard for your fireplace. However, burning fresh wood can cause serious problems. It can burn cool and smolder because of the moisture in the wood. Smoldering often produces thick smoke which can lead to the build-up of creosote in your chimney that could eventually cause a chimney fire. Fresh wood can also have poison ivy growing on it. When poison ivy burns, the chemical in it can be released into the air, and once breathed in, it can cause serious lung irritation.

4. Don’t rely solely on fireplace cleaning logs.

Products exist that promise to clean your chimney and clear away any creosote build up making your chimney good as new. However, they rarely work as advertised. While they do have some benefit, they are no replacement for having your chimney professionally cleaned. Instead, use them before the chimney company gets there to help try and make your chimney cleaning that more effective.

5. After each use, sweep the ash out of your fireplace.

The ash left over from your previous fire can leave a harsh odor. It is wise to always sweep or shovel out any ash from your fireplace. This will not only help with airflow to keep your next fire burning brighter, but will also help prevent toxic air from being circulated in your home.

If you’re not sure your homeowner’s policy covers a chimney fire, give me a call at 317-253-1155. If you want a good company to inspect and clean your chimney, call Clean Sweep 317 at -317-643-1128 or visit them at www.cleansweep317.com