How To Maintain A Safe And Useful Fireplace

There is no cozier feeling than warming up by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa. It’s the perfect cure for cold weather; the fire warms your bones and calms your heart. In the winter, a fireplace heats your entire house and makes it feel like a home. But without proper precautions, using a fireplace can be dangerous to your family, home, and assets.

In order to keep your fireplace effective, you must clean and maintain it throughout the year. Follow these simple steps before using your fireplace.

Conduct a basic inspection – This should be done routinely to ensure there are no dangerous issues such as cracks, leaks, or stains.

Keep it clean – Make sure the area is clean from ashes and soot. Wait until all embers (the heated material inside the fireplace) have been extinguished for at least 12 hours before cleaning.

Clear the area – Keep all combustible items, including rugs and decor, a safe distance away from the fireplace.

Block build up – Prevent build up of creosote in your chimney by burning only seasoned, well-dried hardwoods. Creosote is a black, flammable film that builds up in the chimney over time.

Watch the flue – Stay safe by ensuring that the flue is open before lighting the fire. Never close the flue it until you’re sure the fire is completely out.

Don’t abandon a fire – You never leave your fireplace unattended when in use, especially around children.

Use a fire screen – This will prevent sparks from escaping the firebox and causing damage to eyes and skin.

Clean it correctly – Never use abrasive cleansers inside your fireplace.  These cleansers may leave a dangerous, flammable residue.

Take precautions – Test and check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Learn more about your smoke detector and its battery replacement in this maintenance video.

Store a fire extinguisher – You should never use a fireplace without having a fire extinguisher handy. Make sure that your family knows where the fire extinguisher is stored at all times.

Prior to using a fireplace, you should communicate with your family about the precautions that must be taken.  Explain that the fireplace can be dangerous and must be handled with care.

See more winterization tips by reading “10 Steps To Winterize Your Rental Home.”


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