Leaning toward an old wood-burning fireplace to help cut your heating bill this winter? Before you spark a log you should know, fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42% of all home-heating fires. So before you use your fireplace, ensure you know how to properly use it and follow these safety tips.
- Hire a chimney sweep – The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year to remove soot and debris. A professional chimney sweep should also inspect for any damages.
- Cap your chimney – Chimney caps will keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering your chimney. Repair or replace a missing or damaged cap.
- Burn seasoned hardwood – Choose dense wood that has been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least 6 months.
- Don’t overload – Small fires generate less smoke and less creosote buildup. Large, hot fires can potentially crack your chimney.
- Build it right – Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling instead of flammable liquids to start the fire.
- Use a spark guard. Spark guards will prevent embers from shooting out of the fireplace. A guard in front of the fireplace is especially important when the room is unoccupied.
Winter is coming. It will be here before we know it. Get everything prepared for the cold months now before it’s too late! Stay warm and safe all winter long.