With cooler weather, many people use their fireplaces to heat their homes. Whether you have a wood burning stove, or a gas fireplace, yearly cleaning is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association for fireplaces that are used frequently.
Get Your Chimney Cleaned and Inspected
It's really important to have your fireplace flashing and chimney cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep that is CSIA Certified and experienced. Chimney caps should be installed and will help to keep your chimney and fireplace clean. The chimney sweep should ensure your fireplace damper functions correctly, that there are no cracks in the flue liner, and that the chimney is waterproof. They will also sweep the flue to remove creosote and debris that could start a fire.
Wood Burning Fireplaces
To help keep your wood burning fireplace clean, check the wood you burn. It should be dry and seasoned hardwood. Wood such as fir or pine burns hotter than hardwood and deposits creosote in the chimney. Painted wood, construction material, and plastics should never be burned in a fireplace. The toxic fumes can easily enter the living area. Avoid burning large amounts of paper, especially wrapping paper since it is a common cause of chimney fires.
Before starting your fire, it's good practice to clean out ashes from previous fires. Always use a fire grate and the proper fire tools to attend the fire. Once the fire is started, close the fire screen and keep glass doors open.
Gas fireplaces require regular maintenance as well. A service technician can adjust the millivolt output, clean, and place embers and logs, clean the glass, check batteries in CO2 monitor, and ensure vents are clean, unobstructed and doing their job.
If the flame goes out, wait five to ten minutes to allow the gas to clear out of the fireplace before attempting to relight it. Call the dealer or a technician if you notice odd smells or unusually colored flames. If you smell gas when the unit is off, call the gas company immediately.
General Safety Tips
- Keep children away from fireplaces. Serious burns can be caused from children touching hot surfaces and from flammable clothing catching fire. Material such as polyester melts quickly and a warm woodstove can be all it takes for polyester clothing to start melting and cause a burn.
- Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and check the batteries regularly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of paper, furniture, books and other flammable materials. There should not be anything flammable within two feet of your fireplace.
Director of Development/Manager
Diane Turton, Realtors