Having a safe home is on the mind of all homeowners. No one wants to feel like they’re constantly in danger. Same can be said about fireplace safety. Fireplaces are supposed to be comforting and calming, not scary.
What do you need to do to make your fireplace safe? Believe it or not, there’s a lot to consider and, if you have children, even more than a typical homeowner. Your head is probably spinning just thinking about it.
Fret not, Chicagoland’s fireplace and chimney experts at Vertical Chimney Care are here to help. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about fireplace safety.
Make Sure Your Damper is Open Before Using Your Fireplace
The last thing you want to do is keep your damper closed when you’re using your fireplace. This keeps the smoke and carbon monoxide in your home which is unsafe to breathe in.
Before lighting your fireplace, check to make sure your damper isn’t closed. If it is, open it and enjoy. It’s just that easy to prevent smoke from billowing into your home.
Don’t Forget to Close it When You’re Done
Just like remembering to open your damper before you use your fireplace, you’ll need to close it when you’re finished. Closing your damper is more important than you probably think.
Your fireplace damper works like a barrier to keep drafts out of your home. When it’s closed, it works as an airtight seal to make your home more comfortable no matter the season.
Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll end up saving money on your energy bills. Without having to compete with the outside weather, your furnace and air conditioner won’t have to use as much power to reach your desired temperature.
Broken Fireplace Dampers Are a Problem
If your damper is broken, you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced. Without it, your home will never be the right temperature and you’ll be burning money in utility costs.
Vertical Chimney Care Home Solutions is here to help you. Our fireplace experts will make sure your damper is working properly. If it isn’t, they’ll be able to repair or replace it for you. Contact us and see why we’ve been trusted by Chicago homeowners for over 30 years.
Keep Flammable Items Away From Your Fireplace
Having a fireplace is a nice touch to any room. When you have a fire going, it’s stunningly gorgeous and can help warm the entire home. That being said, you want to keep the fire within the fireplace.
It’s important to keep flammable items such as shag rugs or cloth items, away from the fireplace when it’s lit. Sparks can jump out of the fireplace, especially when burning wood, and can catch these items on fire.
Don’t Let Children Play Near a Fire
Much like rugs and cloths, you’ll want to keep your children away from active fires. Not only are sparks a danger, but their curious minds make them want to investigate everything. It’s best to keep them away and explain why it’s unsafe.
Invest in a Fireplace Glass Door
When it comes to fireplace safety, glass doors are the perfect addition. Not only do they look beautiful with and without a fire burning, but they offer many safety benefits to homeowners.
For instance, you won’t have to worry about sparks shooting out from your fireplace. Just close your fireplace glass door when a fire is lit and everything inside your home is safe and sound.
Fireplace glass doors even help your home when the fireplace isn’t being used. Like the damper, the doors work as another layer from protection for outside weather. They’ll help save you money and keep your home a comfortable temperature.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended
Would you ever leave a running oven unattended? Then why on Earth would you leave a fire unattended? Even with a glass door protecting the inside of your home, you’re still susceptible to chimney fires.
If you’re looking to go out or to bed and a fire is still burning, make sure you put it out before doing anything else. Use a fireplace shovel to bury the flaming logs and embers with the sand or the ash at the bottom of your fireplace.
Make Sure Your Chimney is Clean
Chimney cleaning is essential for fireplace safety and preventing fires from happening. Every time you use your fireplace, soot and creosote line the walls of your chimney.
Both soot and creosote are highly flammable. So the thicker the coating on your chimney liner, the more likely you are to have a chimney fire. This can all be avoided by having a professional chimney sweeping company clean your chimney.
How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?
The question is, how often should you have your chimney cleaned? It depends heavily on how often you use your fireplace. The more often you use it, the more soot and creosote line your chimney.
There are a few metrics you can use. The first is the amount of soot in your chimney. If there’s more than 1/8″ on your chimney liner, then it’s time for a chimney cleaning. If you don’t know how to measure soot, you should have a chimney inspection.
If you don’t use your fireplace frequently, you can get away with cleaning your chimney every 50 burns. Obviously, there are some outliers based on how cleanly your fireplace burns. For example, gas log fireplaces burn cleaner than wood and don’t coat your chimney liner as quickly.
Keep Fireplace Tools Away From Children
There are many different tools used to keep a fireplace burning well and clean. There are brushes, log lifers, pokers and shovels, all of which should be kept away from young children.
Kids are very curious and want to know how the world works. If they can get their hands on your fireplace tools, they will. Make sure they’re out and reach and explain to them how they’re dangerous for them to handle.
Clean Ashes After Every Burn
A huge, and often overlooked, aspect of fireplace safety is cleaning up between burns. Not only will your fireplace look and run better, but it makes your home a safer place.
Much of the soot and ashes that are left behind after a burn can catch fire easily. If you go to start your fireplace the next time, it can ignite quickly and burn you. This can be avoided by simply cleaning out your fireplace after it’s used.
Gas Log Fireplaces Are Easier to Maintain
If maintenance is what’s holding you back from getting a fireplace, you should consider a gas log fireplace. They’re much easier to clean and keep well maintained than a traditional wood burning fireplace.
This is because gas log fireplaces have ceramic logs that are painted to look like real wood. They don’t singe and char or create a lot of ash. It’s the perfect fireplace for homeowners looking for something a little more low-maintenance.
Have a Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector Nearby
There are a few safety tools that need to be located near a fireplace. The first two are a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Much like a kitchen, having them nearby can help save lives.
Everyone knows that keeping a smoke alarm near a fire is essential but a carbon monoxide detector is just as, if not more, important. If smoke isn’t able to escape through your chimney, it billows back into your home. Fireplace smoke contains carbon monoxide which is unsafe to breathe.
In Case of a Fire, Have an Extinguisher
Another tool that you need nearby to ensure fireplace safety is a fire extinguisher. If there’s ever a problem or a spark catches something outside of your fireplace on fire, you’ll need to put it out immediately.
Fire extinguishers are the best solution to most fires and every homeowner should have one near their fireplace. It sprays a foam that douses the fire and prevents it from getting oxygen.
Have Your Chimney Inspected Once Per Year
The best thing you can do for your fireplace is get a chimney inspection each year. It’s the only way you can guarantee for sure that your fireplace is safe to use.
There are three levels of chimney inspection. Level 1 chimney inspections make sure all readily accessible parts of the chimney are functioning properly. If you’re changing your fuel source or purchasing a new home, you’ll want a level 2 inspection. When your chimney may be experiencing major problems, you’ll need a level 3 inspection.
Fireplace Safety is Important for All Fireplace Owners
Fireplace safety is the key to keeping your home safe from fires while enjoying your fireplace. From having the right tools to making sure your chimney is clean, nothing is too small when dealing with your fireplace.
We’re Chicago’s leading chimney experts. We’ve been serving the area for over 30 years and have helped thousands of homeowners with their fireplace and chimney. Contact us and see why so many people have trusted us.