Lighting a fire in your fireplace is one of the most relaxing things you can do, especially during the cold Midwest winter months. It adds a warmth and atmosphere to a room that you can’t get any other way. While it provides a great gathering place for your family, it can also be a risk if you do not take proper precautions. If you haven’t lit many fires in your life, then you may not be aware of what it takes to maintain your fireplace so it’s safe to use. Here are 5 fireplace safety tips.
Keep Children Away From the Fire
This goes for pets as well, but never leave a fire unattended when there are children around. Depending on the age of your child, be sure to teach them about fire safety as well so they understand the risks involved. While it seems fairly intuitive to keep children away from a fire, make sure that they do not play around the fire or with tools around the fireplace. Even if the fireplace is covered with a glass plate, these can still become hot enough to cause injuries.
Make Sure the Damper is Open
If you have used a fireplace before you most likely know this. A good way to check if your damper is open or not is to light a match in your fireplace with the window open and blow the flame out. If the smoke goes up then it is open, if it goes out of the fireplace then it is closed. If the smoke rises, it is vital to make sure that the opening of the chimney is not blocked by debris or an ice dam.
Don’t Put Anything in the Fireplace that Shouldn’t be there
Don’t try and dispose of any extra paper or trash in your fireplace and certainly don’t try and cook anything in it. In this case I think the most common mistake people make is that they overload their fireplace. Don’t put too much wood in your fireplace, if anything put less and you can add more if needed. Don’t put anything near the fire that’s combustible.
Have your fireplace Cleaned at Least Once a Year
If you are building fires in your home it is essential that you have the chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year. If you just moved into the house and have yet to use the fireplace be sure to have it checked. Flammable material can build up in your chimney and become a fire hazard.
Have the Proper Set up
You don’t want to have a burning log that needs moving and realize you don’t have the tools to do it. Having the correct tools for a fire. Setting up a metal screen on your fireplace can prevent burning embers from falling and catch shifting logs.