Get That Safe & Cozy Fireplace

The flickering glow of the fireplace has such a comforting way of bringing families together − to talk, connect and nurture one another’s dreams.

Cozy up with our hints for staying safe and making the most of these fireplace moments:

1. START WITH A CLEAN SWEEP

At least once a year before the weather cools, hire a professional chimney sweep to clear the chimney of buildup and to check your bricks, cap and other materials for safety. Take care of any repairs before building your first fire. 

2. BUILD A BETTER FIRE

First, always make sure your damper is open. When laying the fire, use a dry hardwood like oak, elm or maple. It will burn cleaner and longer than softwoods like pine, spruce and cedar.

Some experts recommend that you hold a twisted piece of newspaper in the chimney to get warm air rising before lighting the kindling in your fire.

Manufactured logs and kindling are also an option — they’re convenient and emit lower rates of pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Never use liquid fire starters indoors.

3. REDUCE CREOSOTE BUILDUP

Creos-what? Creosote is that tar-like, flaky stuff that can lead to chimney fires.

One of the easiest ways to reduce this buildup is to avoid green or wet wood. Also, building smaller fires can help since they produce less smoke, and in turn, less creosote. You can also use chimney “sweeping” manufactured logs that have chemicals in them to reduce certain types of creosote.

Just remember that none of these replace the need for an annual chimney cleaning. The resulting peace of mind when you’re cuddled up by the fire is worth it − promise!

4. USE SMART HEARTH HABITS

Use a spark screen on top of the fireplace to keep burning embers from escaping up the chimney and a grate or glass doors on the front to keep sparks inside the wood box.  Never leave the room when a fire is burning if you don’t have these in place.

5. BE EARTH-FRIENDLY

Don’t burn treated wood, plastic or garbage, which can release harmful toxins. Check to see if your state has no burn days or other environmental restrictions for wood-burning fireplaces or stoves.

What do you love about moments around your fireplace? Wishing you a safe and cozy season around the hearth!


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