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During wintertime, we utilize fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves as additional heat sources. But remember, “fireplaces can provide warmth and comfort, but if you are not careful, they can also be hazardous.”We recommend having your chimney, fireplace, wood or pellet stove inspected and cleaned by a licensed chimney specialist and to maintain them annually to help ensure they are functioning safely and efficiently. In addition, clear any debris, decorations or combustible material from and around the hearth. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional guidance related to operation and venting.
How to keep a fire burning safely
Ensure that the flue is open before lighting your fire to help ensure the fireplace will vent properly. Do not close your damper until you are certain that the fire is out. When starting a fire, only use a match or commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
Glass doors of a fireplace should be kept open while burning a fire. This allows the fire to receive enough air for complete combustion and to help reduce creosote build-up in the chimney. (Refer to your user guide). Metal mesh screens should remain closed whenever your fireplace is in use to help ensure that embers remain in the fireplace.
Only use dry wood in your fireplace. Wet wood can increase creosote buildup, which can lead to a chimney fire. Never burn plastic because it can release toxic chemicals and cause damage to your chimney, fireplace or wood stove.
Never burn a Christmas tree in your fireplace as the sparks from the burning needles can increase the risk for a chimney fire. Also, do not burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or trash in your fireplace.
Never leave a fire in a fireplace unattended. Before leaving the house or going to bed, you should make certain to fully extinguish the fire. Ensure that ashes cool completely before disposing of them (ashes can take many hours to several days to cool completely). Never empty ashes directly into a trash can. Place ashes in an approved metal container located at least 10 feet away from your home or other outbuildings. Clear an area for your ash container that is free from any combustible materials (clear to mineral soil/dirt). Do not place your ash container on your deck or other wooden surface.
When was the last time you had your dryer vent cleaned? Did you know that lint and debris can build up in your clothes dryer duct which causes it to work overtime, creating a potentially hazardous condition which includes dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home and even fires. The following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can help keep your dryer venting efficiently working while keeping your family safe.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use your dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating once a year, or more often have a professional Dryer Vent Cleaning service to come and clean your dryer vents.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are intact and free of links.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used that the machine is connected properly.
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