Nothing gives your home a cozier atmosphere than a cheery fire in the fireplace. However, the fireplace and its chimney have been the cause of many unnecessary home fires. This can be avoided by proper fireplace usage and maintenance.
Use a Fireplace Screen
Install a metal fireplace screen to prevent burning wood and flaming embers from coming out of the fireplace. Wood that contains moisture causes a lot of popping which can toss sparks and embers around.
Only Burn Wood
Never use the fireplace to burn paper, cardboard, plastic, grease left over from cooking or anything other than wood. Don't use accelerants (such as gasoline, lighter fluid etc.) of any kind to start fires.
Open the Flue Properly
The flue will have a catch mechanism that locks it into the open position. Make sure that it correctly locks into place when opened, to prevent any accidental closure when the fireplace is being used.
Keep the Chimney Clean
Periodically have the chimney cleaned by a professional to prevent the buildup of creosote, which is a kind of tar that comes from the smoke of burning wood. This substance is flammable and can cause a chimney fire if allowed to accumulate.
Keep Up With Chimney Maintenance
Have a professional perform regular inspections and repair any cracks or gaps in your chimney. These cracks may allow hot gases to escape into your house, causing surrounding structural elements to catch fire and introduce carbon monoxide into your home.
Avoid Negative Pressure
While airtight homes reduce fuel costs during the winter, they can cause problems with your fireplace. A fireplace normally establishes an airflow pattern where air is drawn from inside your home and sent up the chimney.
If you are running several fans that also draw air out of your house, they may start pulling air from out of the fireplace. The normal fireplace airflow pattern becomes reversed, where air is drawn down the chimney, through your fireplace and into your home. This causes dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
Make Sure Your Chimney Was Built Correctly
If you've recently bought a home with a fireplace, you have no idea whether the fireplace was installed by a professional or by an amateur. Have it inspected by a professional to ensure that it complies with safety guidelines.
By following the above safety tips, your fireplace will provide comfort this winter rather than become a source of danger.
Are you safe from fires? Call 800 Insurance at 415-928-2886 for more information on Daly City home insurance.