Tips for Using Your Fireplace Safely

With the latest round of cool air making it’s way into Central Florida, more and more people will be utilizing their fireplaces. Believe it or not, fireplaces are actually quite common for Florida homes. While they’re a common element in many homes, they’re also a common safety concern. Here are some tips to help you use the fireplace in your home safely.
Get an annual inspection by a certified chimney sweep
It’s important to have your chimney inspected regularly to ensure that everything is in working order before you fire it up. They’ll check your chimney from top to bottom and clean out any soot or debris while also checking that it is structurally sound.

Keep the room well ventilated
The room that the fireplace is in should be well ventilated to ensure proper air flow. This way the smoke will go up the chimney and out of your home, without lingering inside or re-entering. Cracking a window to allow air into the home while a fire is going will also help smoke go up the chimney.

Cap the chimney to keep out animals and debris
If your chimney doesn’t have a cap at the top, it’s pretty much inevitable that animals and debris will stake a claim to it. If this happens your chimney will become too blocked up for the smoke to leave your home.

Clean the firebox once a week
During the months your fireplace is in use, you want to make sure that you clean the firebox (the space where you burn the logs) regularly. Leave about an inch of ash because it will act as insulation. When it warms up and you won’t be using your fireplace anymore, you’ll want to clean it out completely. Coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so wait before removing the ashes and never do it with a vacuum cleaner.

Keep flames in check
When actually building your fires, use seasoned hard woods that have been drying for at least 6 months. Use kindling to start your fire, don’t use a liquid fire starter, and don’t stoke the fire too quickly as your chimney can crack if the flames are too hot. Always keep the mesh ember screen closed so the fire stays inside the fireplace and no embers get out.

Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This is probably one of the most important things you can do to ensure your family’s safety. When fumes aren’t exhausted properly, smoke and carbon monoxide can find their way into your home. This is easily avoidable if you get regular inspections.

As part of your home inspection, your inspector will look over the chimney to see if it is structurally sound and let you know if it’s in need of repair, but it’s still a good idea to contact a chimney sweep after you’ve purchased your home. Contact Super Inspection Pros to find out how we can help with your home inspection needs.

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