Cold winter nights call for warm beverages, movie nights, and of course, curling up by the fireplace.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe With These Fire Safety Tips
Before you light the fire and cuddle up under a few blankets, there are a few things you should consider. Read our fire safety tips below to keep your family and home safe this winter.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Both wood burning and gas fireplaces are designed to keep your family safe. Still, though, it’s important to perform proper maintenance operations before lighting the first fire of the season.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is ensure your fireplace is clear of obstructions and creosote. This can be done by a professional chimney sweep. Do this annually, before you light your first fire. Your chimney sweep will share other fireplace safety tips with you which may be particularly relevant to your home.
Once your fireplace is clear of debris from last year, you’ll also want to inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Finally, check chimney liners for cracks or any signs of deterioration, and cap it with wire-mesh sides to cover the top. Doing so will keep rain, birds, and other debris from getting into your chimney.
Take Fire Safety Seriously
To further prevent any accidents, make sure you take all safety precautions into consideration. For example, while it might seem obvious, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Furthermore, never leave a fire unattended and avoid burning garbage, newspapers, or plastic in your fireplace.
In the same regard, gasoline or any liquid accelerants should never be used; keep children and pets away from the fireplace, and ensure the space around your fireplace is clear of any potentially flammable materials.
Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (and making sure you test them regularly) is another precautionary safety measure you can take. Also, and if you can, keep a window open while the fire is burning to keep air flowing.
Build A Safe Fire
When it comes to building a safe fire, not only should you consider the area around your fireplace but the actual fire as well. For starters, use dense woods. A good option is oak. Alternatives such as green wood and other softwoods produce more creosote, a flammable element you’ll want to avoid as much as possible.
One obvious first step before you light your first log is to make sure that your flue is open so that you don’t allow smoke to accumulate inside of your home. You can usually check this by shining a flashlight into the chimney. Make sure not to close the damper again until there are no signs of burning embers anywhere in your fireplace.
Another way to avoid excess creosote is to create a small fire, as they generate less smoke. Not only is a smaller fire safer in terms of creosote buildup, a too large or too hot fire can crack the chimney. All you need are a couple of logs.
When you go to build the fire, be sure to place the logs as far back as possible. Doing so will help minimize sparks shooting out of the fireplace and into your living room. Finally, instead of flammable liquids, use kindling to start your fire.
Develop A Fire Safety Plan
Even after taking steps to promote fireplace safety, it’s always good to have an escape plan. Draw or acquire a floor plan of your home and be sure your family knows how to get out safely. Once you have an agreed upon your plan, practice it with your family. Doing so will ensure it’s a fool-proof.
Make sure that you never leave a fire unattended if you have small children in the house. You can add safety screens to the mouth of your fireplace as an added precaution. Store lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
Practice your fire safety plan a few times a year. While it might seem unnecessary, the more prepared your family is, the better your chances of surviving a fire.
Let ABC Keep Your Home Cozy All Winter Long
With colder temperatures around the corner, many Houston residents will look to their fireplace for warmth. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a cozy addition to any night in. But as we mentioned above, there are a few steps you should take before lighting a fire.
Here at ABC Home & Commercial Services, your safety is our number one priority. If your house is feeling drafty or your heater is not keeping your house warm on those cold nights, give us a call and we can perform a check-up on your heating system. By taking care of your heater and using the fire safety tips we have outlined above, you can keep your loved ones safe, all year long.