Outdoor Fireplace Safety and Maintenance
What’s the next best thing to sitting by a cozy fire inside your home in winter? How about enjoying nice fires on cool nights year around with an outdoor fireplace? Using fire pits, ornate outdoor masonry fireplaces, and chimeneas (aka “chiminieas”) are all popular and growing trends among homeowners across the nation. It’s important for homeowners to realize that maintenance and safety of outdoor fireplaces and other heating appliances is just as important as proper upkeep of indoor fireplaces and chimneys.
Universal Outdoor Fireplace Safety Tips
There are some safety tips which apply to all types of indoor and outdoor fireplaces, including:
- Do not leave a fire unattended at any time.
- Do not burn chemically treated wood, such as wood that has been painted, glued, or stained; burning treated wood releases dangerous toxins.
- Do not put flammable liquid on a fire, to get it started. Using kerosene, lighter fluid, or any other type of flammable liquid is highly dangerous and can cause an explosion that results in serious injuries or worse.
Outdoor Masonry Fireplaces
If the chimney of an outdoor fireplace becomes layered with creosote, a chimney fire can be the result; and chimney fires are very intense and could easily start an out-of-control burn. Annual inspections are recommended, to ensure safe operation. Obstructions caused by such things as tree limbs and creatures should be removed before use. Chimneys should be kept in proper repair so that the venting can operate as intended. Our chimney professionals are trained and experienced in performing masonry repairs and chimney rebuilds.
It is dangerous to leave fires unattended to burn all night; the fireplace should be covered after cooling. Once embers are extinguished, remove ashes after each use. Outdoor masonry fireplaces are extremely durable. A handy way to keep an outdoor fireplace clean, besides with a brush or broom, is with a pressure washer.
Clay chimeneas are durable and provide an economical alternative to an outdoor masonry fireplace, but they are easily chipped and should therefore be handled with care. The following are important safety tips:
- Chimeneas produce a great deal of heat and for that reason should not be moved until the fire has completely died down and at least 24 hours have passed.
- Never use a chimenea on a wooden or covered deck because the heat could cause the wood to ignite.
- It’s important that chimeneas are not used when placed near flammable objects such as houses, trees, or fences.
Fire pits come in many different styles and can be extremely affordable as well as highly portable; the various materials fire pits are made with may require special care. Copper fire pits are a popular choice. While they typically begin tarnishing after one use, a worn copper fire pit is just as beautiful as a fire pit that is painstakingly cleaned and polished after each use. The outdoor elements usually turn the copper to shades which complement the earth tones of outdoor furnishings.
The safety tips that apply to chimeneas (above) also apply to fire pits. If the fires in fire pits are left to burn for extended periods of time, whether in-ground or portable, the bottoms of the fire pits tend to deteriorate and wear out. To use a fire pit safely, use a screen mesh cover while it is in use. After the fire has gone out, cover the pit with a solid cover. This will prevent the collection of debris inside the pit and will also prevent ashes and firewood from blowing into the yard.
Everyone enjoys an outdoor fireplace, and it’s an especially great treat for homeowners who don’t have one indoors. Why not enjoy crackling fires and the memories that can be built around them year around? Trust our chimney professionals with regular inspections, cleaning, and masonry repair.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004