Maintaining A Fireplace

Most people love to gather around a roaring fire in their fireplace. A fireplace can be a great way to add beauty and warmth to your home. On the other hand, if not properly maintained a fireplace can become dangerous or even deadly. To keep your fireplace operating at peak efficiency and safety it is important to maintain the unit and use it with caution.

The first thing to remember about using your fireplace is to only use it when there is someone available to watch the fire. Do not make a fire in your fireplace and then leave it unattended. Do not go to bed with a fire still burning, and do not leave your home with a fire still burning. Unlike wood burning stoves that are tightly sealed and designed to provide constant heat, a fireplace is not designed to be left without supervision.

Another thing to remember about using your fireplace is to use logs that are cut to the proper size, and do not overload the fireplace with wood. Logs that are too big can cause several different problems. Overloading the fireplace can allow burning logs to roll out of the fireplace. This may not seem like it would fall into the maintenance category but you need to burn properly seasoned wood as much as possible. Burning green wood will build creosote in the chimney and lessen the efficiency of your fireplace. You may also want to occasionally burn cleaning logs throughout the year, this will keep the creosote build-up to a minimum between chimney cleanings.

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Ensure that your fireplace is in good condition and properly vented. Check the damper to make sure it is sealing properly, and make sure the chimney is unobstructed. If the chimney in blocked you can get heavy smoke backing up into your home. Improper ventilation can also allow smoke to enter the home, it can also keep the fire from burning properly. Possibly the most important maintenance job that needs done to a fireplace is to have the chimney cleaned once a year. Creosote builds inside of the chimney and this can cause an extreme fire hazard. Creosote is extremely flammable, if allowed to build up in the chimney fire can spread up the chimney and eventually burn the entire home down.

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This brings us to another safety issue, you should always have fire extinguishers close to your fireplace, and everyone in the family needs to know how to use it properly. You should always have an evacuation plan in place for your family, and everyone needs to know the plan thoroughly. This way, in the event of a fire, your family will know exactly what to do if they need to evacuate the home. You should practice your evacuation plan on a regular basis so that everyone knows how and where to exit the home.

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They need to be able to do this under stress and in an environment where their vision could be obstructed by smoke. By practicing your evacuation plan everyone will be able to get out of the house no matter what the conditions inside the home are. Always keep in mind, that although fire is a useful tool it can also be dangerous and powerful. Properly maintaining your fireplace, and using it safely will lessen the risk of your fireplace causing any damage to your home or family.

Tags: fireplace, home cleaning

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