Expert Advice for Safe, Cozy Winter Nights by the Fire
One of the best things about winter is cozying up by a warm fireplace and enjoying the woodsy, slightly spicy scent that envelopes your home. What’s not so wonderful is a malfunctioning fireplace or chimney that causes an dangerous fire and makes your home smell like burnt toast. Take the time now to have your fireplace and chimney checked, cleaned, and swept to safely enjoy toasty nights in. Here is our expert advice for fireplace safety.
Safety: Our most important piece of fireplace safety advice is to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Have your fire extinguisher checked and filled to safeguard against any mishaps.
Cleaning/Sweeping: Your fireplace and chimney should be cleaned and serviced by a professional chimney sweep about once a year, or after you have burned off a cord of wood. A cord of wood is 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, so quite a good amount. Your chimney sweep will check for birds nests hanging out on top of Santa’s chute and other damage that could cause unwanted fires.
Wood Type: Beyond choosing a scent you like, it’s important to choose well seasoned hardwoods that have been thoroughly dried. This wood will start more easily, burn hotter and cleaner. More freshly cut, wetter, softer woods such as pine, won’t burn as efficiently and are more likely to smoke, smell unpleasant, cause chimney fires and leads to creosote buildup. Creosote is a highly flammable chemical that becomes more difficult and expensive to clean, the longer it builds up inside your flue lining.
Wood Storage: After buying the proper type of wood for cozy nights by the fire, make sure to store it properly. Ideally, you want to store your firewood at least 10 feet from your house. House it under cover so it doesn’t get wet from rain or snow. Make sure it has enough ventilation to allow for air movement, and raised slightly off the ground.
Gas Lines: Have all the components of your gas fireplace, especially gas lines, cleaned and inspected to make sure there aren’t any leaks or chemical buildups.
Inspect: If you experience any problems with your fireplace or chimney or if you’ve recently moved into your home, schedule a home inspection soon. By waiting, you could be looking at bigger, more expensive repairs or even worse, a dangerous chimney fire.
If you have any other questions about preparing your chimney and fireplace for winter or would like to schedule a home inspection with us today, give us a call at 1-800-345-2776. You can also reach out to us on our Facebook page here or tweet us @SchaeferInspect.