In the winter it can be cold, grey, rainy, and even snow. If you have a fireplace in your home and excellent home insulation, it’s the perfect combination to keep you toasty warm.
Family time with warm drinks in front of a roaring fireplace – it can be a scene straight out of a movie. Unfortunately, without proper safety steps, that scene can quickly become a nightmare.
If you plan to use your fireplace this winter, be sure that you know how to keep yourself and your home safe. Here are the tips you need!
Remember to Open the Flue!
The flue should be closed when the fireplace is not in use in order to prevent cold air from coming into your home. After all, if you leave the chimney way open, your home insulation won’t be able to make much difference!
But once you’re ready to start a fire, you want the flue open to draw the smoke out of the house. You can check and see if the damper is open by looking up the chimney with a flashlight or using a mirror.
Keep the flue open until all embers have completely burned out. Otherwise, you could have dangerous and unpleasant smoke collect in your home.
Don’t Burn Anything Chemical in Your Fireplace
It’s tempting to use a fireplace as an all-purpose disposal, but it’s not one. If you burn painted or pressure-treated wood, for instance, you can release a large amount of toxic chemicals into your house.
You should also never use gasoline, kerosene, or charcoal starter to get your fire started. The result of mixing these chemicals and fire indoors is extremely dangerous. You can cause a serious fire or release danger fumes into your home.
Instead, use only local firewood that is completely clean and dry. You can start your fire with dry kindling, pinecones, or newspaper. These will safely burn completely and stay in control in your fireplace.
A Fireplace is Not a Furnace
Once upon a time home had wood-burning stoves for heat, but those were carefully vented and still caused problems form time to time. Your fireplace should not be used as a substitute for a proper furnace of adequate home insulation.
You should only use your fireplace for a few hours at a time. After that, let it cool completely and clean it out before starting another fire.
A fireplace should be carefully tended the entire time it’s lit. If you leave it too long, you could lose focus and end up with excess smoke, sparks, or other issues.
Keep your furnace and home insulation in great shape and just use the fireplace for coziness and fun.
Use Protective Equipment
It may be in a fireplace, but you are still building a live fire inside your home. It’s vital to have protective equipment in place.
You should have the glass open so air will be drawn in to cool down your chimney. However, the screen should be closed to prevent sparks from escaping.
Place a nonflammable rug in front of the fireplace and ensure that flammable items are not near the fireplace. This includes furniture, drapes, books, newspapers, and more.
Finally, never leave children unattended around a fire, and always use fire tongs and tools to make adjustments. You might think you know what warm is if you have great insulation, but putting your hand into a fire takes that feeling to a whole different level.
Make Sure Your Home Insulation is Ready for Winter
A fireplace can’t be the only heat you have – you need your furnace and home insulation to be in great shape as well.
Are you struggling with drafts, uneven heat, or other problems this season? If so, we’d love to help. Contact us for more information about how we can inspect your insulation today!