Although we are in spring now, the nights continue to bring dropping temperatures in North Carolina. For those lucky enough to have a fireplace, this means a time to get a blaze crackling in the fireplace and cozy, warm memories. However, it’s also time to keep fireplace safety and chimney repair in mind so that your home and loved ones are protected against the risks that smoke or an out-of-control fire could bring. Here are a few safety tips to keep you out of harm’s way:
1. Have Your Chimney Professionally Cleaned: Neglected chimneys accumulate creosote—a potentially dangerous chemical that is a combustible byproduct of charred wood, whose buildup could lead to a house fire. Cleaning is the best way to avoid a house fire, and by hiring a professional chimney sweep, you will save yourself the immense trouble of cleaning. What’s more, your professional chimney sweep can inspect your for cracks and loose bricks to ensure that your chimney’s ventilation system is working properly.
2. Install Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms: To alert you and your family members to any danger, install proper fire and carbon monoxide alarms installed near your fireplace, in the bedrooms, and throughout your house. It’s equally important to test your carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms periodically to make sure that they are working properly.
3. Burn the Proper Kind of Firewood: Use only firewood. Never burn construction scraps, painted wood, or any other type of treated wood, which release chemicals into your home. Avoid the risk of poor air quality by burning firewood that has been split, stacked, and dried.
4. Increase Security Measures: No matter how prepared and alert you may be, it’s always easier and safer to keep combustible gases and materials far away from your fireplace. Installing a screen in front of your fireplace is a great way to contain any sparks and prevent them from jumping out of the fireplace onto something nearby. In addition, it’s important to place a fire extinguisher close by, and to replace as needed.