10 Fireplace Safety Tips To Stay Warm and Safe This Winter
by Paul Dreher
Did you know that the leading cause of accidental fires in American homes comes from fuel burning appliances? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, solid fuel burning appliances account for 5 to 10 percent of all household fires, and cause major damage for homeowners. The main causes of fire include: inadequate clearance between the wood burner and walls, floors and furniture; creosote buildup in the chimney; poorly or improperly installed chimneys and improper installation of the wood burner itself. These wood burning and fireplace safety tips can help keep you and your family safe this winter.
Fireplace Safety Tips
- Read the instructions for your wood burning stove and follow them carefully
- Do not use flammable or combustible liquid (gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, etc.) to start a fire
- Do not burn plastics, wood or garbage that has been painted or treated with chemicals. These materials can create toxic gases and can cause corrosion in the vent, chimney and heater
- Burn wood recommended by the manufacturer only
- Put ashes in a metal container with a metal lid. Then place this container onto a concrete surface away from combustible materials outside. These embers may still be hot for several days, so always dispose of them with caution
- Place both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and test these units regularly.
- Place a multi-purpose fire extinguisher near your wood burner. The extinguisher should be UL listed or Factory Manual (FM) approved and have a rating of 2A-10B: C at minimum
- Inspect the firebrick liner in your stove, if you have one. Should the liner show signs of wear, replace it immediately and do not use the unit until the liner is replaced
- Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will allow the fire to heat up which will, in turn, force toxic carbon monoxide into your house.
- Solid fuel units tend to require a lot more maintenance than other heating systems. Therefore, regular inspections and care are needed to protect your home and family against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning
Solid fuel burning appliances account for 5 to 10 percent of all household fires.