8 Ways to Run Your Fireplace Safely

When the temperatures dip below freezing, few things are as comforting as cuddling up in front of a fireplace. The hot flames will keep you and your family members nice and toasty on the coldest nights. However, if you do not take care of your fireplace the right way, it can become unsafe. Here are eight effective ways to run your fireplace safely:

1. Burn Only Firewood

If you plan on using your fireplace regularly during the winter, you should only burn firewood. Burning construction scraps, lumber, painted wood and other item like these can release harmful chemicals into the air, making the home unsafe for you and your family members.

2. Get Your Chimney Inspected Regularly

It is a wise idea to have your chimney inspected by a professional at least two times a year, especially if you use your fireplace daily in the winter. Creosote can build up in your chimney over time, which can be very flammable. An experienced chimney inspector can remove all the creosote from your chimney to make your fireplace safer. He or she will also inspect other parts of the chimney to make sure they are working properly. Getting regular inspections will prevent future problems, so they are well worth the cost.

3. Don't Forget to Clean the Firebox

Cleaning the firebox might not be the almost fun job in the world, but it is very important to do it on a regular basis. For example, when you smell wood ashes in your fireplace, you need to remove them with a small shovel and throw them away in the garbage. When you see soot around your fireplace, clean it with masonry cleaner and a stiff brush. Keeping your firebox clean will help your fireplace run efficiently and safely.

4. Store Wood Correctly

To ensure efficiency, it is important to store your wood the right way. After you pre-cut your wood, put it in a dry place, such as a storage closet. If you prefer to keep your wood outside, you should at least place it on an object, so it stays off the ground and avoids getting wet.

5. Don't Put Out a Fire With Water

It might seem strange, but you should never use water to put a water. If you do, the ashes could turn into a thick paste and be a big pain to remove later. After you spread out the logs with a fireplace poker, put sand in the firebox to let the fire out.

6. Buy a Mesh Screen

If your fireplace does not have a glass door, you should seriously consider purchasing a mesh door. It will prevent embers from flying out and hurting your family members.

7. Don't Use it too Long

As comforting as a fireplace is, you should not leave it on all day. It is not built like a furnace and thus can wear down from too much use. Try not to use your fireplace for more than four or five hours a day.

8. Cap the Chimney

Putting a cap on your chimney will not just keep small animals out and prevent water damage; it will also keep debris from accumulating in there, preventing carbon dioxide. A chimney cap is inexpensive and will keep you and your family members safe.

Maintaining a fireplace will definitely take some extra work, but it is well worth the effort. If you follow these helpful tips, you can run your fireplace safely throughout the winter. However, if your fireplace is not working as well as it should, you should have a professional look at it right away. For more information, visit resources like http://www.alpinefireplaces.com. 

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