There are two things that you want your fireplace to be: safe and efficient. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure these. Here are some safety and efficiency tips that you should always keep in mind.
Have the chimney checked by a professional
Every year, have your fireplace checked by a professional service person. This way, defects and signs of deterioration can be detected and repaired immediately. This measure is important not only for safety but also to maintain the efficiency of the chimney.
Examine it yourself
Apart from the yearly check, you should also do your part in inspecting the chimney from time. If you have a masonry fireplace, check the mortar between the bricks or stones to see if they are intact. For a metal chimney, check if there are any dents, rusted metal, or missing screws.
Prevent buildup of soot and creosote
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Both soot and creosote are flammable and can pose danger if not removed from the chimney. Creosote is produced by incomplete combustion of wood. Don’t wait for creosote to buildup. It should be removed as soon as possible. The soot deposit should be removed if it reaches 1/8 inch in depth.
Keep flammable items away
Don’t let any flammable material near the fireplace, as these can easily ignite. Examples are rugs, furniture, blankets, newspapers, and so on. Use a screen especially for a wood-burning fireplace since these produce hot sparks.
Don’t let children near
Never leave the kids unattended around the fireplace. Keep all matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight.
Keep the damper closed
For a wood-burning fireplace that comes with a damper, close it whenever the fireplace is not being used. See to it that the seal on the damper is working well. To do that, close it and put a tissue in the fireplace. If the tissue doesn’t stay in one place, this means that it is no longer working effectively in keeping the drafts out. Call a repair person as soon as possible to have this fixed.