With the winter moths quickly approaching, a lot of home owners will begin to put their fireplaces to use. To help ensure your fireplace continues to provide comfort safely, please consider the follow best practices.
Install Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
Ensure the presence of both a carbon monoxide and smoke alarm in the same room as the fire place.
Clean the Interior of the Fireplace
Routine cleaning will help the fireplace operate and burn more efficiently, providing additional comfort in the home.
Remove Soot and Creosote Buildup
Most commonly seen as black buildup around the fireplace, soot and creosote buildup is flamable and presents a significant fire hazard in the home.
Use the Correct Wood
We recommend using hardwood like oaks, maple, and birch. Stay away from softwoods like cedar and pine. While hardwood may be more expensive, they produce more heat, burn longer, and don’t produce as much creosote as softwoods.
Check the Chimney and its Cap
Ensuring this system is properly sealed is imperative in preventing moisture intrusion, critter intrusion and helps prevent fires in the home.
Test the Fireplace Before Use
Light a few pieces of wood and check if the smoke is released through the chimney. If it enters the room, troubleshoot and correct the problem first before loading up more wood. Common issues to consider may be an obstruction in the chimney duct, creosote or soot buildup, a closed damper, or wet wood.
Install a Heat Proof Glass Door
Safety is my top priority in any home, and installing a heat proof glass door at the fireplace is a must.
Hire a Professional Chimney Sweep
A certified chimney sweep should inspect your chimney once a year or more frequently than that if you notice creosote buildup or other signs of trouble. While some issues are very obvious and easy to correct, there are problems that require a professional who can spot and correct them.
Always Consider Safety Precautions
Considering the area around your fireplace is an important safety precaution. Things to consider include:
- Keeping combustible carpets and furniture as far away from the hearth as possible.
- Make sure you’re using the proper tools when cleaning the fireplace
- Never leave a fire unattended and always completely extinguish a fire before sleeping or going out of the house.
Troubleshoot and Correct Problems as They Arise
If problems arise while using your fireplace, be quick to correct them. Remember, while working with a fireplace, you can never be too careful. Common problems may include:
- Smoke filling the room instead of being released up in the chimney.
- White staining in the bricks of the chimney which can be a sign of too much moisture due to leakage. Often, mold infestation can occur or further chimney damage. Rust is often a sign of water damage as well.
- Spalling bricks will tell you that the aging masonry is in dire need of tuck pointing.