How to Use a Fireplace for the First Time
A fireplace is as much a hazard as it is a joy. Before starting the first fire in your fireplace, take the safety steps recommended by fire safety experts. The following actions will lead you to peace of mind as you eventually strike the match that lights the tinder and kindling in the season’s first fire.
Statistics on home fires suggest that word needs to get out about the importance of annual chimney inspections. First, they help homeowners avoid dangerous home fires. Secondly, inspections help to prevent toxic gases from entering the home by alerting homeowners of the need for repairs.
The evidence that chimneys are often neglected is that thousands of home fires occur each year as a result of lack of chimney maintenance. Chimney cleaning removes creosote, which can build up layer upon layer in the flue to the point that it creates an obstruction. A blocked chimney in an active fireplace is dangerous because it exposes residents of the home to toxic combustion gases. Deadly carbon monoxide is among the toxic fumes that enter the home due to a chimney obstruction. Known as a silent killer, carbon monoxide is tasteless, odorless, colorless, and symptomless.
Be sure that you have operational smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector in your home before using your fireplace. The only warning of exposure to the deadliest toxic fumes from fires is a carbon monoxide detector.
Secure a Fireplace Screen
Wood fires tend to have embers that can fly out of a fireplace and potentially ignite combustible materials. Be sure there’s a screen that covers the entire fireplace opening before starting a fire.
Make Sure of a Draft
A draft is supposed to draw a fire’s combustion byproducts up and out through the chimney. It’s best not to assume that a good draft exists. A first step is to open the chimney damper. You can then light a match and then blow it out toward the top of the fireplace and see whether the smoke goes up or into the home.
Sometimes a cold column of air is inside a chimney and prevents smoke from getting past the chimney damper. The usual way to fix that problem is to, first, use newspaper to form a torch. Next, light it and hold it up toward the damper. Repeat as needed until there’s a good draft.
Burn Only Seasoned Wood
Use kindling and firewood with low moisture content, which is referred to as “seasoned” wood. Firewood typically needs to be stacked outside for six months to a year to dry out well enough to be properly seasoned.
Get All Set to Use Your Fireplace
Schedule your chimney inspection and chimney cleaning with the certified chimney technicians at Chimney Solutions. You can be confident using your fireplace with trusted chimney sweeps handling chimney repairs, chimney maintenance, chimney crown repair, masonry rebuilds, flashing installation, and more. Contact Chimney Solutions at (770) 691-6707 today.