I think that most would agree that there is nothing quite like cuddling up in front of a warm cozy fire on a cold day. Here are some tips on how to do it safely.
Prior to the first time you use your fireplace each season you should have a certified chimney sweep come out and inspect and clean the chimney when necessary. You should also consider protecting the top of your chimney with a spark-arrester screen or chimney cap which will help to keep animals out while also preventing embers from escaping and potentially starting a fire.
Once you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that your chimney is safe and ready for the first fire of the season remember to open the flue. If your fireplace has glass doors keep them opened while the fire is burning but keep the screens closed to catch burning embers or shifting logs. To ensure that your flue (damper) is opened properly light a match inside of the fireplace and blow it out and see if the smoke goes up and out the way that it should. Once you have determined that the flue is in fact open you are ready to start building your fire. Make sure that you keep all combustibles at least 3 feet away from the fire and if you have carpet around the fireplace that you buy a non-flammable rug in front of the fireplace just in case an ember is to escape.
Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces and so they should not be left to burn for more than 5 hours at a time and should never be left unattended. If you are using a gas fireplace make sure the valve is closed once the fire is finished. Be aware that coals in the fireplace can remain hot for up to 3 days so use caution when handling and avoid using your vacuum cleaner to clean up the ashes for this reason.
We at Westtown Insurance Group wish you and yours a safe & warm Fall Season! Stay tuned for our next blog post…. For more information on our office please visit our site at http://www.westtowninsurance.com