There are few things more enjoyable than curling up in front of a warm fireplace on a snowy winter’s day. And considering that large parts of the Midwest and Northeast have been hit by some major snowstorms already this season, people have had plenty of opportunities to do so. However, as wonderful as fireplaces are, it’s essential that all homeowners follow these eight fireplace safety tips in order to protect themselves and their home. Check them out here:

Only Burn Dried, Cured Wood

Burning substances other than firewood (like paper) in a fireplace is both dangerous and unnecessary. Don’t try to start a fire with foreign materials and don’t use wood that’s wet. Wet wood and other objects produce dense smoke when they burn, and dense smoke contributes to creosote build up within the chimney, which is a major catalyst for chimney fires.

Store Your Wood Properly

Above all, keep your firewood dry. It’s not a bad idea to purchase your firewood for next year months in advance so that you can ensure that it’s stored properly.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps prevent downdrafts, animals building nests within your chimney, damaging moisture from entering your chimney, and chimney fires from spreading to adjacent buildings. There’s no reason not to install one. 

Never Leave a Fire Unattended

Though it may seem obvious, it’s extremely unwise to leave a fire burning unattended. And never leave a fire burning around unsupervised children!

Purchase Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you plan on using your chimney regularly, then items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Remember to always replace the batteries for these detectors because they just might save your life one day.

Keep Your Damper Open

It’s imperative that you keep your damper open until the fire is completely out. You can check the effectiveness of your damper by lighting a match and seeing if it flickers or not.

Clean Your Chimney Area Thoroughly

After a fire is out, make it a point to sweep away any ash, debris or embers. What’s more, never leave flammable materials –– like a rug –– next to a fireplace when in use.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Even if you strictly adhere to every fireplace safety practice, it’s essential that you call a professional to inspect and perform maintenance on your fireplace and chimney regularly. (Experts recommend at least twice a year.) Though you may not realize it, it’s possible that loose bricks caused by moisture or creosote build-ups are threatening the safety of your chimney –– and by extension –– your home.

Contact a Professional

No one likes to think about the possibility of chimney or house fires, yet tens of thousands occur every year. The good news is, by contacting a professional you can protect your home and your family. At Brickworks, we have decades of experience providing home-masonry solutions. From chimney maintenance to foundation repair, we’re ready to take on any project. So don’t wait –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920.