Winter is the time of year for most of us that we like to light the fire in the fireplace, curl up with a good book, a glass of wine and forget the bitter cold just outside our walls. While fireplaces are a beautiful focal point, conversation piece and delight in the winter there are many preventative maintenance tips you should adhere to:
* Your chimney should be swept annually by a qualified professional. A qualified Chimney Sweep can be sure that your chimney is free of debris and in good working order.
* The liner of your chimney needs to be free of cracks. The liners allow for clear and smooth passage for smoke to rise out and out of your home and the liner prevents gas and fire flames from entering your home potentially cause illness or fire.
* Ensure that your flue is functioning properly.
* Be sure the area around your hearth is clear of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
* Always use a screen to keep sparks from flying out into the room.
* If you have glass doors keep them open while burning a fire.
* Stack firewood at least 30 feet from your home.
* Remove any branches that may be hanging over your vent, chimney and flue.
* Keep your roof clear of pine needles, leaves and other debris.
* Be sure to have smoke detectors installed on every level of your home. Inspect them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
Go ahead – grab a blanket and light the fire – just be smart and safe!