How to Safely Operate Your Fireplace During the Winter
During the colder months, nothing beats cozying up next to a warm fire. But remember that fireplaces can also be extremely dangerous. Here are a few precautions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to take to keep you safe before you light that fire.
First things first, check that chimney. It is important to check for animal nests or any other blockages that would prevent smoke from escaping.
Prior to starting the fire, make sure the damper of flue is open. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
Be sure to use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.
Also, if possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is going.
Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable, such as furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc. If these items get too close to the fireplace, they could catch fire.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
Make sure to clean up after yourself after the fire is over. Clean it to ensure the levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less.
If you home doesn’t already have them, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
And just in case, keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
In the event your house does catch on fire, SERVPRO is here to help. We are available 24/7 to help you during this difficult time. Our professionals are highly trained, with the experience, tools and knowledge to clean up fire and smoke damage. In keeping with our goal to restore your home and cherished possessions to their pre-fire condition, we use appropriate personal protective measures to safely clean, deodorize and restore your property. Contact your local SERVPRO at (352) 374-6589.