Staying Safe While Staying Warm

After the deep freeze we all faced last week, our fireplaces were kept busy. With the coldest months of the year coming up we will be relying on them even more. While fireplaces are a source of warmth, we often forget about the maintenance needed to keep them running safely. Bringing an open flame into your home can increase the risk of a fire, which can lead to tragedy. Here are some tips to help you snuggle safely in your home.

Clean your Chimney
Keeping your chimney clean is the first step in maintaining your fireplace. The residue that accumulates with use is flammable and can cause a fire in your chimney. A professional should be called in yearly to keep everything clean. They can also tell you if there are any problems you should be aware of.

Fireplace Screens
Use a metal screen or a glass door as a barrier between the fireplace and the hearth or floor. If you have a glass door keep it open while burning the fire to ensure it receives enough airflow. A mesh screen should be left closed to prevent sparks from escaping and landing where they should not.

Use caution with your burning materials
What you burn in your fireplace is an important factor to remember. Seasoned hardwood will burn the cleanest. Green wood tends to smoke more and can leave more residue. Avoid using cardboard, trash, or other debris to start a fire. Never use a flammable liquid in your fireplace.

Outside Matters
Keeping your roof clear of leaves, needles or other debris will prevent any issues from traveling sparks.  Make sure you are trimming any trees that hang above your chimney.

The most important thing you can do is to never leave your fire unattended. Make sure your fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

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