The holidays will soon be over and 2022 is right around the corner! But that doesn’t mean your fireplace is out of a job until next burning season. We still have weeks of winter and cold weather ahead of us here in Nashville, so ensuring you’re staying as safe as possible when operating your appliance is a must.
Check out some of our fireplace safety tips, then be sure to turn to us for all of your chimney and fireplace needs in the year ahead. We’d love to be your go-to team of experts for it all!
Burn Only Seasoned Wood
Trash accumulates quickly over the holidays. If you’ve got gift boxes, wrapping paper, paper plates, and the like piled up for the trash, you may be tempted to toss some of it in the next fire for quick and easy clean up. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of issues for your fireplace and chimney.
In fact, burning anything except for properly seasoned wood in your fireplace will encourage creosote buildup, which then increases your risk of experiencing a chimney fire.
Rather, only burn logs that have been properly dried out for at least six months. If seasoning your own, be sure to stack it off the ground, preferably in a shed with a sturdy roof and open sides. This will ensure it’s protected from bad weather, while still allowing necessary sunshine and wind to get to it and speed along that drying process.
Or, if you’re purchasing wood, look for pieces that are lightweight, make a hollow “clunk” when smacked against each other, are dark and split at the ends, and give off an older, mustier smell. Basically – the less fresh and green it looks, the better!
Never Leave Your Fires Unattended
When burning fires in your home, never leave a running fireplace unattended. Ensuring all flames are fully extinguished before calling it a night or leaving your home is imperative, and failing to do so could result in flames spreading to other areas of your home.
Keep Flammable Decor Safely Away
Love to decorate your fireplace based on the season or holiday? Whether it’s fake pumpkins in the fall, stockings at Christmas, or paper hearts at Valentine’s Day, removing any potentially flammable decor from the fireplace before lighting fires (and ensuring all flames and embers are out before putting it back) is a must!
You’ll also want to remove any items that are close to the hearth. At Christmastime, this may include your Christmas tree, and during other parts of the year, you’ll want to be wary of where furniture, blankets, and curtains are placed.
Properly Dispose of Fireplace Ash
If you operate a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll want to regularly remove your fireplace ash. While a small layer is helpful for building future fires, if levels get too high, your fireplace grate could wear down, and you’ll have less room to pile your wood logs, too.
That said, this isn’t a job that should be done hastily. Never vacuum your ash pile and don’t simply toss it in the garbage can, either, as live embers and sparks can live in piles of ash for days on end.
Rather, get a metal bucket with a lid and a handle, and use a metal fireplace scoop to transfer the ash into the bucket. Secure the lid on tightly to ensure no oxygen has access to sparks, then place the bucket outside on a concrete, brick, or stone floor. Then, wait a few days before removing it.
Invest in Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms save countless lives every single year. If a fire would occur at night, smoke alarms are often the only thing alerting homeowners that something is wrong.
Or, if it’s carbon monoxide making its presence, it’s colorless and odorless nature makes it virtually impossible to detect with your basic senses. A detector will give you the opportunity to leave your home before inhaling dangerous levels of fumes.
Just be sure to regularly check the batteries and replace the units every 10 years. Along with this, put the detectors on every level of the house, outside of all bedrooms, and sync them up so that if one starts beeping, they all start beeping.
Oh – and while you’re investing in these necessary safety measures, grab a fire extinguisher for your home, too!
Schedule Annual Chimney Inspections
One of the most important things you can do to keep your fireplace safer for use and in good shape is invest in annual chimney inspections. This gives your chimney sweep the opportunity to check for damages, as well as any clogs or buildup. There are all kinds of chimney-related issues that could put you at risk when using your fireplace, so staying on top of it all is an absolute necessity.
Along with this, never put off necessary maintenance, such as repairs or sweepings. Or, if it’s not in your schedule or budget to get these things done at the moment, don’t put your system to use until they can be addressed down the line.
Need Care Soon? Give Us a Call!
Here at Ashbusters, we’re dedicated to keeping customers all throughout Nashville and its surrounding areas safer and more comfortable when using their fireplaces. If you need care, don’t hesitate to reach out to us now. We look forward to speaking with you soon!