Enjoying the warmth and calm of sitting around the fireplace with loved ones? Cozy! A house fire caused by improper use of your fireplace? Not so cozy.
The National Fire Protection Association states that while fires involving fireplaces or chimneys were involved in fewer than 7% of fires caused by heating equipment, they caused more than one fifth of overall property damage at 22%.
We’ve got you covered with tips to enjoy your fireplace or wood stove safely.
Chimney inspections are very important to determine if any maintenance or repairs are required to continue using your fireplace or wood stove safely. A chimney should be inspected at least once a year by a WETT Certified Chimney Technician prior to using it for the season. They will determine if your chimney needs to be repaired or swept of creosote. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood – the black residue that builds up in your chimney as you use your fireplace or wood stove. Too much creosote build up can result in a chimney fire, which is why it's important to have your chimney inspected annually!
To lessen creosote buildup, burn fires using dry, well-seasoned wood. Keep the fire small to burn the wood completely, as less smoke will be produced.
More Tips for Safe Use
- Have a smoke detector on every floor of your home. Make sure to test that they are working properly at least twice a year.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near your fireplace or wood stove and ensure that every member of your household knows how to use it, and that it is in good working order.
- Don’t leave the fire unattended – make sure that it is extinguished when you leave the room.
- Clean out the ash from previous fires and store it in a metal container until it cools, at which point it can be disposed of.
- Do not use accelerants such as gasoline or kerosene to start a fire, as they can cause large flare-ups.
- If you have children in your household, make sure to teach them about the dangers of fire. Always supervise them when they are in the same room as the fireplace or wood stove, and consider putting up safety barriers if children under the age of 5 are present.
Following these tips will significantly lower your risk of a fire due to a fireplace or wood stove, but still, accidents can happen. Don’t forget to insure your property with a Sandbox insurance policy!