Before you spark up the logs, make a clean sweep using these safety tips.
Whether you like to stretch out in front of the fire or toast marshmallows, everyone likes an open fire in winter. It warms the house and your soul during the depth of the winter chill! While there’s nothing quite like a warm fire, it does require a bit of prep work to ensure it’s safe for the season ahead.
Before you spark up the logs, read on for the top safety tips!
Hire a chimney sweep – Call the professional in yearly to clean the chimney of debris and soot. Find a certified sweep in your area through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Check for damage – In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing cement. If there are any repairs to be done, wait for these to be completed before lighting up the first fire of the year.
Cap It – Fit your chimney with a chimney cap. It may seem unnecessary, but it covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that’s missing or damaged.
Only burn dry and seasoned hardwood – Choose dense wood that’s been stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Greenwood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, which can build up in the chimney, making it highly dangerous.
Start it right – Only start the fire with a commercial fire starter, or with matches. Refrain from lighting it with fuel or alcohol – this is a certain recipe for disaster!
Use a spark guard – Prevent errant embers from shooting out of the fireplace with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.
While you prepare your home for the winter, check out our cooler weather maintenance tips!