Winter is here along with the frigid cold temperatures! Have you prepared for this cold weather? How about your home? Did you know the largest source of fire in American homes comes from fuel burning appliances? That is why fireplace and wood burning stove safety is so important.
Wood Burning Safety
Use these tips to practice fireplace and wood burning stove safety.
- Read the instructions for your wood burning stove and follow them carefully.
- Inspect the firebrick liner, if you have one. Should the liner show signs of wear, replace it immediately. Do not use that unit until the liner is replaced.
- Do not use flammable or combustible liquid (gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, etc.) to start a fire.
- Burn wood recommended by the manufacturer only.
- Do not burn plastic, wood or garbage that has been painted or treated with chemicals.
- Be sure to have properly maintained smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and an approved multi-purpose fire extinguisher in your home.
- Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. Doing so will cause the fire to heat up which will force toxic carbon monoxide into your house.
- Take extra care when disposing of hot ashes. Remember that these embers may still be hot for several days.
Solid fuel units tend to require a lot more maintenance than other heating systems. Therefore, regular inspections and care are needed to protect your home and family against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. In addition:
- Have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to reduce creosote buildup.
- Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote.
- Replace cracked or damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
- When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
There are two types of chimneys that require specific maintenance to maximize the dangers in your home.
- Fireplace inserts (hearth stoves):
- Vent should be connected to the flue of the chimney.
- Factory-built metal chimneys:
- Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney, as they cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.
A few other tips
Do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue. Doing so can cause major complications. If one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of the following serious problems:
- Heavy creosote accumulation
- Deterioration of the flue
- Creosote blocking the lower heater vent
- Carbon monoxide drifting into your home
When it comes to your home and family fireplace and wood burning stove safety is crucial. Make sure to practice the above safety tips to stay safe and warm. Now is a good time to review your homeowners insurance coverage to make sure your policy is up to day and adequate.
Click here for information on homeowners insurance.
Click here to learn more about chimney fires.
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