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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fireplace Safety

There is something about heating a room with a fireplace that just makes it so cozy and inviting.  My parents have a fireplace in their basement, and I love it when they have a fire – which is pretty well daily during fall and winter months.  But before the first fire of the season, my dad cleans his fireplace chimney and checks the exterior for cracks.  I inquired as to why he does it instead of having it professionally done, and he said that up until he had a stainless steel liner inserted about eight years ago, he did have it done by a certified specialist.  I worried a bit, and I questioned him.  While he is comfortable with the job that he does, he doesn’t recommend that just anyone do it.  “You need to know what you are looking for,” he said.  “Plus making sure there are no cracks in the chimney is equally as important as cleaning out the creosote.”  That’s because he knows that not properly caring for your chimney can lead to a fire.

But your chimney isn’t the only thing to be mindful of.  I recently talked to Mike Feudale, General Manager of A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning. He shared with me one particularly bad home fire where a recently-started, unattended fire popped a few embers out of the fireplace onto a rug placed too closely to the fireplace.  The result – a burned up living room and a home full of smoke and ash.  Besides the rebuilding of a portion of the home, everything had to be removed, cleaned, and deodorized.

Redcross.org reports that December and January are peak months for home fires.  They further report that the second leading cause in home fires comes from heating sources like woodstoves and fireplaces.  We just wanted to remind you, knowing that colder weather and the holiday season means fireplaces will be in peak use, to be diligent when it comes to fireplace maintenance and safety.  Remember to open the flue before starting a fire.  Make sure to use a metal screen when burning a fire.  Keep flammable items away from the fireplace.  Burn firewood only.  Clean the interior of the fireplace after each fire.  Finally, be sure that your smoke detectors are properly working.

Stay warm…..and safe.  For more information on fireplace safety, check out our Helpful Hints section.

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