Fireplace Safety - The Tips You Need To Know

Unfortunately winter is still upon us. The days are cold and short while the nights are long and freezing. Some nights not even three blankets can keep you warm. However, some, we call them the lucky ones, have fireplaces which can heat you and your house up real quick. Not to mention it is one of the most relaxing things to sit in front of the fire, let the heat hit your face, and watch the flames dance.

Although a fireplace possesses such amazing qualities, it can also do a lot of damage if one is not aware of proper fireplace safety. One small slip up can create a huge mistake and potentially lead to the fire spreading throughout your home or other issues like carbon monoxide poisoning.

Having a fire can be fun but with great power comes great responsibility.

Here are some fire safety tips everyone should know.

  1. If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning.

  2. Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.

  3. Use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.

  4. Smaller pieces of wood placed on a grate burn faster and produce less smoke.

  5. Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less because a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.

  6. The chimney should be checked annually by a professional.

  7. Even if the chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.

  8. Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (ie: furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc.). If these items get too close to the fireplace, or if a piece of "pops" and throws sparks, they could catch fire.

  9. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.

  10. Minimize your child's chance of burns from the hot glass front of some fireplaces. Safety screens can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.

  11. Put fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child's reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches.

  12. Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

  13. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.

  14. Communicate to children as early as possible the dangers of fires and the heat generated from them.

Take these tips and use them when you decide to light your fire. There is never anything wrong with practicing safety.

And even with taking every precaution, accidents can still happen. If an accident due to a fire ever occurs at your home and causes damage, please call us during our office hours at (203) 237-7923 and one of our licensed agents will take care of you and your insurance needs. We are here to help you!

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