We are right in the middle of the days when families and friends gather to enjoy the many traditions over the holidays. What’s more traditional than a wood-burning fire in your fireplace while hosting company? A warm fire can set the mood on an evening and provide comfort for you and your guests. As for today being the first day of winter, we at Mihalko’s would like to provide a few tips for maintaining a safe fireplace.

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are in working order regularly.
  • Keep all combustible materials like carpets, curtains, and furniture away from the fireplace.
  • Clean the ash from the fireplace when it reaches the bottom of the grate. If the fireplace is not kept clean, it can impede air flow and this can be dangerous. An inch of ash will actually make it easier to maintain a well built fire.
  • The Chimney Safety Institute of America says you should have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a certified sweep technician at least once a year or more often depending on how often you build a fire. Pay attention to creosote and soot build-up on the inside of your chimney. This can be dangerous if left uncared for.
  • Test the air flow of your fireplace by lighting a few small pieces. If the smoke does not exit through the chimney and enters the room their is a problem that needs to be handled. Put the small pieces out and search for the issue. The issue can be many things: Creosote and soot can cause build-up, debris, birds, raccoons or other animals nesting, a damper that is closed or not open to capacity, or wet wood that is not burning well.
  • The CSIA says to burn seasoned wood and not green wood. Freshly cut wood can be up to 45% water. While seasoned firewood has generally 20-25% moisture content. Well seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat, and burns cleaner.  Green wood does not burn well and creates more creosote.

 

Helpful tips provided by diynetwork.com 

Image: Wikipedia-Fireplace

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