Fireplace Safety Tips to Protect Your Home

December 1, 2016 / Category Tag, Firewood

So, you’ve just come home from a long day at work, the kid’s are all away at their respective sports practices, and the nest is empty, albeit a little chilly. This is when the idea hits you.

“I’m going to make a fire.”

You throw on the most comfortable clothes you own, turn on the latest album of that band you love, and load up the fireplace with firewood. You don’t know what type of firewood it is, but it’ll do the trick, or at least that’s what you tell yourself. Once the fireplace is jam-packed, you take a moment to admire the impressive fire log sculpture that you have created. There is wood, a whole lot of wood, kindling is poking out here and there, and you can even still see a faint trail of lighter fluid. You are the Michelangelo of fire!

You reach for the fire, lighter in hand, and just like that, in the blink of eye, the room is billowing with smoke, the cat is running out the door, you are coughing up both of your lungs, and the fire department is outside. Go ahead, Michelangelo, revel in the glory of the masterpiece!

Similar to the hundreds of thousands of Americans per year, this could be you. But once you finish this article, you will be all the wiser! Listed below are four of the most essential tips and rules that you should be taking into consideration when starting and constructing you next fire. A moment of relaxation is rare; don’t send it up in flames.

Inspect! Inspect! Inspect!

  • Oftentimes the first step towards a full-on catastrophe is failing to inspect your fireplace. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association, your chimney should be inspected and cleaned annually by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Chimney good to go? Not so fast. Ensure that any debris left over from the previous fire is cleared away. This includes coals, ashes, and any other remnants that may exist.
  • Next up, clear the surrounding area. A good rule of thumb is to have a ten-foot safe-zone surrounding your fireplace and/or fire-pit. Be on the lookout for books, furniture, clothes, and home décor, as these all lend themselves to be potentially flammable.


Keep It Small

  • Unless you are legitimately roasting a swine, there is no reason for your fire to be reminiscent of Mount Vesuvius. Start with pre-cut, seasoned firewood, or manufactured fire logs, and limit your workspace to the size of your grate.
  • Replace logs only when necessary. This will keep you and your surroundings safe, while also minimizing post-fire clean up and waiting for the fire to die out.


Know Your Kindling

  • Thinking of using rolled-up newspaper from yesterday? What about that charcoal left over from last week’s cookout? Think again. The safest way to start to a fire is with a manufactured fire-starter. This minimizes the likelihood that your kindling gets blown adrift mid-blaze.
  • Never, under any condition, use lighter fluid, gasoline, or other liquid accelerant in your fireplace.

Creosote in Chimney

Remove Creosote Buildup Every Year

  • Creosote is a black, oily residue that builds up on the interior of your chimney. This can reduce air flow through the chimney, sending smoke into the home and impeding the fire, along with the danger of creosote itself catching fire. Not good.
  • Cleaning your chimney at least once per year is highly recommended to prevent such danger.
  • Additionally there are consumer firelog products, such as Creosote Buster, that reduce creosote buildup and the chance of a home heating fire (the second leading cause of home fires).


So, there you have it. These tips will keep you safe and worry-free the next time you decide to channel your inner Michelangelo.  If you would like to see some other helpful suggestions, we recommend the National Fire Protection Association and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

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