As colder weather arrives, nothing beats curling up in front of a warm fireplace. Proper use and maintenance are essential in keeping your fireplace safe. Here are some important tips:
•The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys, fireplaces and vents be inspected at least once a year by a certified chimney professional.
•Keep your fireplace in good condition by repairing any cracks in the flue lining, bricks and mortar.
•Arrange andirons so logs can’t roll out.
•Equip your house with fire detection devices.
•Keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace.
•Do not overload your fireplace with logs; avoid a “roaring” fire.
•Keep three feet of clearance around a fireplace to let air circulate and to keep carpet, furniture, etc., away from the heat source.
•Do not treat artificial logs (made from sawdust and wax) like real logs and only use one at a time.
•Do not use coal, charcoal or polystyrene packaging as burning materials as they produce excessive heat and smoke.
•Never burn a Christmas tree in a fireplace as the excessive sparks can cause a chimney fire.
•Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to kindle or rekindle a fire to avoid an explosion.
•Do not use colored newspaper (advertisements, comics, etc.) as the inks contain lead and can produce toxic gases.
•While in use, always keep the damper open to provide for efficient burning and to prevent accumulation of poisonous or explosive gases.
•Always use a safety screen or glass door in front of the fireplace for protection from flying embers.
•Make sure the fire is fully extinguished before retiring for the evening.
•Be sure that all ashes have thoroughly cooled before disposing of them. Dispose in a lidded metal container, storing away from any combustible materials.
Please share this information with family, friends and insureds. Our goal is for you and the people you care for to have a safe and happy fall and winter!