Feet Warming at FireplaceIs there anything more wonderful this time of year than a mug of hot chocolate, a good movie on the Television, with a warm and cozy fire burning nearby? Not hardly!

Yet, it is not uncommon at this time of year for us to hear in the news that some unlucky family has tragically lost their home to a fire caused by a poorly maintained wood burning fireplace. This is doubly tragic when we consider how easily this can be avoided, simply through the proper care and maintenance of your fireplace.

Burning wood will cause a buildup of creosote within the chimney and flue of your fireplace. This tar-like substance is highly flammable and difficult to remove. Hiring a professional, a “chimney sweep” (they sure do exist), to clean your fireplace is the best way to ensure that your fireplace is clean and safe for burning wood.

Beyond that, we would like to recommend a few things you can do to ensure that your fireplace remains safe throughout the year.

Steven’s 9 Tips for a safe wood burning fireplace:

  1. Hire a professional to clean your fireplace at least once each year, either before or after the season
  2. Make sure the flue is open prior to lighting a fire
  3. Use only clean, well-dried, seasoned wood to reduce the buildup of creosote
  4. Never leave a fire unattended
  5. Install a screen for your fireplace, to reduce sparks reaching your floors
  6. Sweep away old ash and debris before lighting a fresh fire (make sure all embers are extinguished prior to sweeping)
  7. Sprinkling damp coffee grounds over the ash will reduce dust when sweeping out your fireplace
  8. Do not use chemical cleansers inside your fireplace, as they may be combustible
  9. Never leave combustible material near your fireplace

Having your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually remains a very good idea, ensuring peace of mind and the safety of your family.

If you would like more detailed information about fireplaces and fireplace safety, read this article, “Cold Outside, Cozy Inside; All about Wood Burning Fireplace Anatomy and Maintenance Tips,” from TrustedPros.com.

If you’re unsure about the safety of your fireplace, get in touch with Ampwood Home Inspections right away for a safety inspection.