Keep Your Fireplace Safe For the Holidays
The holidays are a time for joy, family, and creating lasting memories. However, a memory you don’t want is one of tragedy. Sadly, according to the National Fire Protection Association, most home fires occur during winter because people rely on fireplaces and other heating systems.
If you own a fireplace, let’s look at how to operate it safely during the holidays and all winter.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
You probably don’t get up on the roof often, and even if you do, you may not be aware of chimney issues that could compromise your safety. Whether it’s flue blockage, cracked mortar joints, or loose bricks, many things can make your fireplace more dangerous. Before lighting that first winter fire, call a chimney professional to schedule a chimney inspection. Professionals go over the chimney, inside and out, with a fine tooth comb to alert you of conditions like creosote, which is a primary cause of chimney fires.
Take Care of Maintenance
Besides getting a chimney inspection, before winter is when you should take care of maintenance because many repairs can’t be done in freezing temperatures.
Routine maintenance is essential for your chimney’s longevity, allowing you to repair minor problems before they escalate. Another reason to get maintenance and repairs out of the way as soon as possible is that chimney service companies get booked up quickly the closer winter gets. If you wait until the last minute, you may miss your opportunity.
Check the Damper
A fireplace or chimney damper is a device to regulate airflow through the chimney. Dampers are typically made from metal or ceramic to withstand high temperatures. However, wear and tear, and high heat can take their toll, making the damper more difficult to operate. Test the damper to ensure it opens and closes easily, and check it for damage. If you don’t know what to look for, call a professional.
Test Your Alarms
Whether you run a gas or wood-burning fireplace, it’s essential to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. According to the EPA, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) recommends every home should have a carbon monoxide alarm. CSPC also urges consumers to have a professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances — including furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers, water heaters and space heaters — to detect deadly carbon monoxide leaks.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but they’re no good to you if they don’t work. Before winter arrives, take a few minutes to test your alarms and replace batteries if needed. Furthermore, the average lifespan of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is seven to ten years, so if yours are getting long in the tooth, replace them.
Clean Your Fireplace
The area directly around your fireplace can get cluttered during the holidays. Whether it’s presents, toys, blankets, boxes, or furniture, it’s easy for the fireplace to become crowded with flammable material. Before building a fire, remove anything that could be a fire or safety hazard.
Never Leave Your Fire Unattended
It’s so easy to get busy during the holidays and forget important things, such as the fire burning in your fireplace. This is especially essential if you have young children or pets.
Keep the Firebox Clean
Create a habit of cleaning the ash and debris out of the firebox of your wood burning fireplace or stove at least once a week. Close the damper to prevent air from flowing down the chimney and stirring dust, and wear a dust mask. The coals can remain hot for up to three days, so wait at least that long before cleaning.
The Pros at Burlington Fireplace
Burlington Fireplace is a second-generation, family-owned heating service company, serving residents throughout southeast, WI, since 1995. We sell, maintain, and repair the top brands of gas fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, wood burning fireplaces, fireplace inserts, gas stoves, outdoor fireplaces, and more.
Get your fireplace in winter-ready condition by contacting us at 262-763-3522 or visiting our store at 857 Milwaukee Avenue (Hwy 36) Burlington, WI.