7 tips for maintaining a safe fireplace

Fireplaces are a joy to have in the house and are great during the cold winter months. But, they can also lead to home fires if they are not properly cleaned and maintained. So make sure that you follow these tips to ensure a safe and warm winter.

  1. Get a professional to inspect and clean your chimney every year before the start of winter. They should be able to get all the flammable creosote buildup out of the chimney and make sure that there is none left that can go up in flames.
  2. Make sure that the mesh cap on the chimney is secure at the end of every season and make sure that there are no twigs and branches that have fallen in to your chimney before you start lighting fires. Also check for animals and birds living in the chimney if the cap has allowed invaders. You do not want to start the season off by setting fire to an animal burrowed into your chimney.
  3. Check for soot in the chimney. It is softer than creosote and is flammable so make sure you clean it out before lighting a fire. A professional chimney sweep can also do this for you.
  4. If you find more smoke than normal pouring into the house, there may be a blockage in the chimney and you should check it yourself or have a professional check it.
  5. Leave a good deal of space between the fireplace and your furniture or other objects in the room. Flying embers can set fire to things such as carpets and pillows. Also, you should buy fireplace doors to keep the embers from flying into the room.
  6. You may want to install a stainless steel lining that will be able to keep the live fire and embers contained within the fireplace and be able to withstand high temperatures.
  7. Clean the fireplace floor and sides regularly by using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the ashes. Wear a dust mask while doing this to avoid inhaling the buildup.

With these tips you should be able to make sure that the fireplace in your home is not a fire hazard and not a threat to you and your family. Most of these are easy to do and can be done once before you start a fire for the first time in the season. If you are not confident about handling the tasks, get a professional in to get them done.

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