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Nothing says “Chilly weather and the Holiday spirit” like a warm and cozy fireplace. Family and friends, gathered by the fire, with a cup of hot cocoa, opening gifts and enjoying what the Holiday Season is all about. However, it is important to be extremely cautious when using a fireplace, especially with any children around.
Tips When Using a Fireplace:
- If possible, leave a window slightly open while the fire is burning.
- Assure that the damper or flue are open before starting any sort of flame. By keeping both the damper and the flue open, unnecessary smoke will flow out. The damper is checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Be sure to wait until all flames and embers have stopped burning to close the damper.
- Use wood that is both dry and well-aged. Dry wood burns more evenly and produces less smoke. Wood that is either wet or green may cause more smoke which can lead to soot buildup in your chimney and cause further complications. Also, smaller pieces of wood at a time burn faster and produce less smoke.
- After every single use, clean out the ashes. You should not have more than 1 inch of ash build-up in your fireplace. Having too much ash in your fireplace, can result in more smoke.
- Conduct yearly chimney checks by a professional. There are all sorts of animals that can make a home in your chimney or even blockages that could prevent the smoke from escaping.
- Keep anything that is potentially flammable far away from your chimney. Flammable items can range from and are not limited to; furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, lighters, matches, etc. If a flammable item gets too close to your fireplace, they can ignite and start a fire in your home.
- Never let a fire burn alone. If you are leaving the house or going to sleep, be sure to put the fire out. If you leave the room where the fire is burning, bring your child with you. It is imperative to never leave a child alone near a fireplace.
- Use safety screens to minimize the risk of your child burning themselves.
- Install both smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Fire extinguishers should be kept at a close range, in case of an emergency.
- Talk to your children about how to be safe around a fireplace and the dangers of fires.