You know that when the footballs start flying and school buses start running that cooler weather cannot be far behind. Now would be a good time to do some preventative maintenance on your fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, etc. Some easy steps now could save you from a catastrophe later.
Did you know that over a third of Americans use fireplaces, furnaces or stoves as their primary home heating source? Most of those homes are probably in the coldest climates as well. About 35% of home fires are cause by “heating fires”. Most of those are preventable.
For instance, how many of us have the chimney cleaned at least once a year? I admit, I have gone three or four between cleanings. A lot of these homes with fireplaces are rentals, so the tenants are likely not going to call a chimney sweep. Landlords are probably not thinking about it, (out of sight, out of mind). This could lead to disaster as many fires are due to a buildup of creosote. Creosote is the black, oily substance that builds up in the chimney. If it becomes thick, it can ignite, causing a chimney fire, which could spread to the rest of the house by catching the roof on fire.
Also, do not burn paper, cardboard and other trash in the fire place. These objects do not burn hot enough and can cause even more creosote build-up. Creosote is caused by a low temperature burn.
Do not leave a fireplace unattended with a fire or hot coals in it. Don’t leave the house or got to bed unless the fire is completely out. Ash and sparks can sometimes fly out and catch carpeting on fire. Make sure not to clean out your fireplace until you are certain all embers are out. One lit one can cause a fire in a trash bin.
It is also a good idea not to stack your wood pile up against your house. If it were to somehow catch fire, it could burn your house too. Keep it about 30 feet away from any building.
Use these tip to keep you and your loved ones safe this winter!