Fires in the Winter Are Great; With Proper Fireplace Safety

It’s the season for the cozy warmth of a crackling fire — and for commonsense fireplace safety too. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are 17.5 million residential fireplaces in the United States. In an average year, however, about 25,000 house fires are related to inadequate upkeep or unsafe use of a fireplace.

If utilized carefully and properly maintained, a fireplace can be a source of indoor warmth as well as contributing a charming ambiance to the home. Here are some basics of fireplace safety to keep in mind over the coming months:

Schedule yearly maintenance.

Have the fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned and inspected. Creosote residue that is coating the inside of the fireplace and the entire interior of the chimney is highly flammable and may trigger a chimney fire that can easily spread into the interior of the home. Professional fireplace service also includes an inspection of the brick chimney structure for cracks or other defects, as well as checking the operation of safety-related components such as the fireplace damper.

Choose wood carefully.

For consistent burning and the most aesthetic appearance, utilize wood that has been dried for at least six months. Green wood, conversely, burns irregularly and produces excess smoke.

Never use the fireplace to burn trash.

Don’t burn plastics, fabrics, lumber, or other unapproved materials which may generate unsafe temperatures and release toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide.

Take measures to contain sparks and embers inside the fireplace.

Use of a glass fireplace door or a metal screen designed for the size and type of fireplace you have should be part of routine fireplace safety.

After flames subside, don’t leave the room with embers or hot ashes smoldering.

Scoop ashes and embers into an approved metal ash container with a lid, then place it in a safe location outdoors to cool.

Make fireplace safety a priority and enjoy the great indoors this winter. The professionals at Paitson Bros. have been helping keep Terre Haute homes comfortable and safe in every season since 1922.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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