Don’t Let Your Wood-Burning Fireplace Endanger Your Home

Posted on January 17, 2014

Now that winter is in full swing, residents everywhere are likely wondering when the spring is going to get here and banish the cold weather.  That may still be months away, so for now, it’s up to you to do what you can to stay warm within your residence.

For many people, that will mean using a wood-burning fireplace.  If you do this, you have to do so with the utmost caution, and you thus ought to consider the tips available from the United States Fire Administration related by the Public Safety Advisory Committee of Lawrence Township, New Jersey in a new report.

Safety begins with where you’re actually placing the firewood that is going to be necessary in order to get a blaze going.  Many people don’t think about the threat that could be posed even outdoors if the pile is allowed to catch fire.

You therefore want to make sure that the firewood is a sufficient distance from your home so that any fire that does break out doesn’t endanger your residence.  One way that such a fire could break out is from an emanation of embers from the chimney itself.  You ought to invest in a mesh chimney topper, similar to the grate that goes over the fireplace, that can prevent this.  Furthermore, make sure all flammable substances, like leaves from trees, are cleared from the immediate area and that overhanging branches aren’t going to be a hazard.

Once that’s complete, you can apply the same kind of attentiveness indoors.  If there is anything near the hearth that could conceivably catch fire, you should move it away so that there’s no danger.  It’s also not a bad idea to get in touch with a professional qualified to inspect chimneys for potential hazards so that any type of creosote buildup isn’t going to cause a fire.

Most fireplaces have one or two barriers:  a glass door and a grate.  The former is not to be shut while a fire is roaring, while the latter certainly is.  When the glass door is shut, the fire isn’t fed by the air, which can further prompt the formation of excessive levels of creosote in the chimney.

The grate, though, absolutely should be shut so that there’s no danger of a burning ember wafting from the fireplace to the interior of your home.  By shutting the grate, you dramatically reduce the threat of a fire.

This grate should only be opened to stoke the fire or add kindling. When you’re adding that kindling, use an available tool to place the log, as this will protect you from burns.  Also make sure to place new logs near the back so there’s no danger of them rolling out.

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