It’s that time of the year again!
With the last days of autumn upon us, it is time to consider the annual maintenance of your fireplace. To ensure that your fireplace is in proper working condition and will keep you warm on those cold winter nights, please consider the following tips.
One must always be sure to exercise care when using a fireplace. It is also recommended to never leave your fireplace unattended when children are around. As you well know, fire is extremely dangerous and has the potential to cause immense damage.
A fireplace should only be used for a short duration. Four to five hours should be sufficient to remove the winter chill in your home. Be sure to keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up the chimney, and keep the screen closed to make sure that no burning embers can escape. It is also advisable to open a window slightly, to keep your home from getting smoky.
A fire should be started using the following steps:
1. Open the glass doors and pull the screen aside.
2. Place your kindling, newspaper, and logs inside.
3. Open the damper completely, and a window slightly.
4. Test the air flow by lighting a match and blowing it out, watching to ensure that the smoke rises through the chimney.
5. Carefully light your fire, and draw the screen.
Children should be kept away from the fire at all times. You should also be sure to use a non-flammable rug in front of your fireplace, in case burning embers have a chance to escape. You should always keep your fireplace tools close by, in case you have to adjust the fire.
If you are using fireplace coals, please take extra care when cleaning up. Fireplace coals can remain hot for a few days after use. To remove the ashes, be sure that the damper is open. This will ensure that the airborne ashes are drawn up into the chimney. Wear a dust mask too, as this can be messy work and it is not advisable to inhale the fine particulate matter. Use a shovel to clean up the ashes, and place them in a metal can away from any combustibles.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your fireplace, contact your local chimney sweep professional. By following these guidelines, you and your family can stay safe and warm in the coming winter months!
About the Author: Kim Filler loves to sit in her favorite chair watching the flames dance in her fireplace. When she is not trying to build the perfect fire, she writes freelance articles for http://www.fireplacesandwoodstoves.com – a website of interest to those with fireplaces and woodstoves featuring information on wood burning stoves, fire places, manufacturers of fireplaces and more.