Each winter more and more people in Columbus are looking for the most efficient manner to heat their homes. The price of heating oil and propane is continually rising, so many are turning to burning wood to keep the house warmer and limit the costs required to heat their homes when the temperature drops.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimneys and fireplaces are the cause of nearly 40 percent of all home fires. That doesn’t mean that you should rethink burning wood. However, you should make these simple fireplace safety practices a part of your life in order to keep your home and family safe and your bills low this year.
Have Chimney Professionally Cleaned
This is a concept that has been around for hundreds of years, but many people seem to ignore or forget to have their chimney professionally cleaned. All chimneys should be cleaned at least once a year according to the NFPA. The best time to have the cleaning done is in the fall, before the start of winter. The cleaning is designed to eliminate a sticky, oily and flammable substance called creosote from collecting in the chimney. Finding a qualified chimney sweep is pretty easy as you can contact the Chimney Safety Institute of America and they will recommend a professional in the Columbus area.
Eliminate Carbon Monoxide Issues
If a homeowner does not take care of their chimneys and fireplaces there is a significant risk of producing carbon monoxide. This is a gas that is tasteless, odorless and has no color. It is poison to humans and the only method of detection is with a CO2 detector. Many are poisoned each year and hundreds die as well. Eliminate the following things to avoid producing carbon monoxide. (According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission)
-A chimney has masonry that is loose
– Disconnection exists between fireplace or woodstove and chimney
– Chimney has excess debris or soot falling
– Chimney has water streaking or rust on it
When a chimney is being cleaned by a professional it should also be inspected for all of these types of issues. All cracks, missing mortar or loose chimney bricks should be repaired immediately.
Burn Appropriate Wood Only
Many people get into trouble by burning wood that hasn’t been cut and dried appropriately before it is put into a fire. It is recommended that wood is cut, stacked and allowed to dry for at least 6 months before it is used in a stove or fireplace. When you burn green wood, which was just cut it produces excess creosote and increases the danger of a chimney fire.
Hardwood, like oak, maple or birch are examples of hardwood trees. Pine, cedar, and fir are examples of trees that are softwood. The hardwood trees burn more efficiently and are safer for your fireplace and chimney providing safety at home.
Learn to Build a Fire
This should probably go without saying but learn the basics of building a fire. Using appropriate tools and starting the fire with small pieces of kindling wood and then adding the bigger sticks of wood after. It is never appropriate to use any form of flammable liquid to get a fire started. That is obviously dangerous to your home and your personal safety as well. They will produce excess smoke, and also burn anything they are accidentally sprayed on. Build a fire the right way, start small and keep it under control.
Having a fire in the winter is a great way to save money on heat and also to add a little atmosphere as well. If you follow these simple tips on fireplace safety, you will be avoiding any unforeseen issues and keep your home and loved ones safe and sound, simply follow these home safety tips.