Winter is almost here and that means you can put that wood-burning fireplace to use! Fires are a great way to unwind and stay warm throughout the season, but there are certain safety precautions and maintenance you should be aware of. Keep these in mind before you light up those logs and rest by the cozy flames.
The most obvious safety concern is fire prevention, but carbon monoxide poisoning is another issue to keep on your radar. Never close your damper with hot ashes still in the fireplace. The damper sends smoke out through your chimney, which prevents carbon monoxide from becoming trapped in your home and poisoning you. The damper also acts as a seal to prevent cold air from coming into your house when your fireplace isn’t being used. You’ll want to be sure to remove all ashes from the fire and let them cool or pour water over them before disposing.
When building your fire don’t use flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, to start it. Paper isn’t safe to start a fire inside either. Don’t burn plastic or wood that has been treated with chemicals or paint—this could cause corrosion to the flue. Instead, use natural, dry wood. If an accidental fire does break out, make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the same floor as your fireplace and do periodic checks to ensure their functionality.
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