10 Fireplace Safety and Savings Tips for Winter
If you have a fireplace in your home, odds are you’ll use it during the winter. What better way to spend the holidays than sitting in front of a fire with friends and family? Just be sure to follow these tips to ensure you use your fireplace safely and economically.
- Make sure your fireplace is clean and properly inspected. Any debris blocking the chimney, including leaves fallen from nearby trees and built-up ash called creosote, must be cleared each year. A clogged chimney can force smoke back into your home.
- Double-check all of your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectorsto make sure they’re in working order. Change all batteries that have been in place more than a year.
- Use either dry kindling or newspapers to start a fire. Avoid using a charcoal starter, kerosene or gasoline, which can both cause fires to grow quickly out of hand.
- Avoid throwing wrapping paper and toy packaging into the fire. This can be tempting on Christmas morning, but those materials often contain chemical dyes and plastics that release toxins when burned.
- Burn only dry and well-seasoned wood. Burning damp, green wood creates creosote.
- Don’t give into the temptation to build big fires. Smaller fires are much easier to manage. They also produce less smoke and creosote.
- Keep flammable items away from your fireplace. Place your Christmas tree far away enough that it can fall over without going into a fire. Also make sure no gifts, drapes, rugs or furniture are close enough to the fire to be hit by sparks.
- Place a screen around the fireplace. The screen catches sparks and keeps children and pets away from flames.
- Teach your children to stay away from any fire and not to touch the fireplace screen.
- Keep the fireplace closed when you’re not using it. A quality fireplace door helps you keep your heating bills lows by preventing warm air from escaping your home and cold air from entering.