Smart Fireplace Habits
- Make certain that you open the flue in your fireplace before lighting a fire.
- Fires should not be started on the floor of the fireplace. Use a basket type grate to actually hold the logs.
- Only burn hardwoods. Soft woods generate too much heat for most residential fireplaces. Use only dry wood; wet wood causes excess smoke and leaves creosote deposits. If you use synthetic logs, only burn one log at a time.
- Do not burn Christmas trees and holiday greenery in the fireplace.
- Do not burn papers in the fireplace; they burn too quickly and can overheat the fireplace. Burning paper can be carried up the chimney, possibly igniting any creosote deposits that are in the chimney.
- You should never use lighter fluid, gasoline, charcoal, or any flammable liquids to start or enhance a fire.
- Chimneys should be professionally inspected each year and cleaned after burning approximately one cord of wood or at least once a year. Fires generate creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire if allowed to build up.
- Outside sparks flying up the chimney can cause fires. A spark arrestor is simply a metal screen that covers the top of the chimney and prevents sparks from escaping. It also prevents birds from building nests and other varmints from getting in the chimney.
- Use a metal fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying out the front of the fireplace.
- Make sure fires are out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Avoid wearing loose, flowing clothing near the fire.
- Keep children away from the fireplace at all times.
- Never close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force carbon monoxide into the house.
For more information, contact the Fire Department at 830-249-3644.