Many residential homes come with built-in fireplaces that get used throughout the cold winter months. On top of adding an appealing aesthetic, burning wood in a fireplace is a great way to warm the inside of your home to a comfortable temperature, and can help lower your heating bills. But some older homes or fireplaces that have not been taken care of can be potential fire hazards, with the possibilities for danger ranging from house fires to smoke inhalation.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your aging fireplace safer. Whether you are getting ready to use your fireplace for the first time this winter or wanting to fire up a fireplace that has been blocked off for several years, make sure to keep fireplace safety in mind. Here are five tips for the best ways to use your fireplace in Wausau, WI safely all winter long:
- Maintain the chimney: For safety and better wood burning, it’s recommended that you clean and sweep your chimney at least once a year. This removes built-up soot and debris and dust that could prevent smoke from escaping. You’ll also want to check that the chimney cap is secure to ensure debris and wildlife cannot get inside.
- Check the adjacent area: It’s important that you keep all flammable items away from the immediate fireplace area. The area around the hearth should be clear from carpets, drapes, furniture, blankets and other things that could ignite. Since fireplace mantels tend to be decorated for the holidays, check that all decorations are either completely out of reach of sparks or are made of non-flammable materials.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Most homes are equipped with smoke detectors, but often lack carbon monoxide alarms. Slow burning fires can cause higher levels of carbon monoxide inside your home, so carbon monoxide detectors are a must if you have a fireplace. While it’s advised to test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms twice a year, you may also want to test them before using your fireplace in winter.
- Get a set of fireplace tools: It’s a good idea to have a fireplace tool set next to your fireplace, including a shovel, broom, poker and tongs. This tool set is for your safety against burns, to keep fireplace fires under control and to facilitate easy cleanup. You should also install a fireplace screen or glass doors to shield people and nearby items from sparks or popping embers.
- Let ashes cool before disposal: Removing ashes and other debris from your fireplace is a hugely important step in fireplace safety. Wait until the ashes are completely cooled before throwing them away—a good time to remove ashes is before lighting a new fire the next day. This ensures they are cool enough to be swept up, but you should still douse them with water during disposal.
Using a fireplace in Wausau, WI in winter is a favorite pastime of many families. To ensure your fireplace and chimney are functioning properly, schedule service from Marcell’s Specialties Inc. Our team specializes in fireplace installation, chimney cleaning and fireplace and chimney repair—call us today to get your fireplace ready!
Categorised in: Fireplaces
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