As cooler weather sets in, do a check up before using your wood burning fireplace this season! Avoid a serious injury and an insurance claim by using the following tips;
Before you light the fire, check that the chimney has air flow!
Light a match inside the fireplace and blow it out to see if there is airflow (smoke should go up the chimney).
Talk about fireplace safety with children!
Be clear that running, throwing and playing near a fire are off limits. Enforce a 3 foot safety zone. Use a string to create a radius around the fireplace and explain that they are not allowed inside of it.
Crack open a window in the house!
Even if the window isn't very close to the fireplace, it will still improve air flow.
Use a fireproof mat in front of the fireplace!
Especially if carpet surrounds your fireplace, a fireproof mat could save you from a spark fire.
Don't close the doors all the way!
Although the glass door will prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace, leaving the door cracked open allows the chimney to draw necessary air in.
Wait three days before removing ashes!
Removing ashes from a fireplace too early creates a high risk for fire since ashes can hold onto heat, even after embers fade.
Consider a Professional Inspection!
The build up of creosote in chimneys is the leading cause of chimney fires. Creosote is a by product of burning wood. Burning soft wood and green wood increases the build up. Use firewood that is safe for use inside the home and hire a professional to inspect your chimney! Although an inspection may cost around $100 or more, it would be a lot less than the cost of a fire in your home! To find a certified chimney sweep, visit the CSIA website.