With the cold weather rolling in so quickly this year, it can be tempting to just to crank up that fireplace and cozy up on the couch with a warm blanket and good movie. While that all sounds wonderful this time of year, keep in mind, your fireplace has not been used in a year and there are some precautions you may want to take before cranking that sucker up again. These tips are guaranteed to prevent any horrible accidents as you get back in the groove of using your fireplace again this chilly season.
Crack a Window
While the fire is burning, crack a window to help ventilate any smoke out of the house. You should always do this for your first fire of the season!
Open the Damper or Flue
This is also a good method to ensure smoke is leaded out of the house. To make sure it is open, look up into your chimney with a flashlight. Be sure you keep it open until the embers in the fire have completely stopped burning.
Use Dry, Well Aged Wood
This type of wood will burn better and produce more heat. Wet or green wood will cause more build up in the chimney over time, and will also produce more smoke.
Clear the Ash
You should do this after every fire, but in case you haven’t, be sure to clean out any ashes your fireplace has in it from previous fires before you start a new one. You can keep the layer of ash to about one inch but any more than that will restrict the amount of air that can get to the fire.
Get Your Chimney Checked
This should happen annually. It is great to do in the fall right before Thanksgiving to ensure your safety when the cold weather rolls in. There are professionals that can come out and check your chimney and also clean it. This will help eliminate the chance of a fire and give you peace of mind that it is safe to use.
Check Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you do not already have these, make sure they are installed! In case of an emergency, these will alarm the household. If you do already have them, check and make sure they are working properly before starting a fire.
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Keep a Fire Extinguisher in the Home
In case of an emergency or if the fire gets out of hand, this will be your saving grace. Obviously, be sure to call 911 if the fire gets out of your control, but if you have one of these on hand, you may be able to get to the problem first.