Total Fireplace Safety
A fireplace can be a beautiful addition to a room or home. The crackling, dancing fire can provide heat and a mesmerizing glow for a room. In addition to its beuaty, a fire in a fireplace comes with some obvious and less obvious potential pitfalls. This article will seek to provide an overview of fireplace safety. The main safety topics that will be covered are Installation safety, mainentaince safety, use safety, and air flow safety.
Installing a fireplace can be a tricky process. If you install the fireplace wrong, a dangerous situation may develop. It also can pay to have someone that has a lot of fireplace installation experience to help with the fireplace install.
One of the first things to check off of the installation list is to make sure that the install or the prospective install complies with all applicable building codes and regulations. These typically exist to protect homeowners and non compliance with codes can be very costly later.
The flue (connects the opening of the fireplace to the chinmey) of the fireplace should be of adequate size and should also be unobstructed. The flue should be about one tenth of the width of the fireplace opening.
In addition, the hearht (the area that the fireplace sits on) should also be of adequate size. The hearth should be extended into the room so that it can catch sparks or debris that flies out of the fireplace. It should go beyond the fireplace by about sixteen inches in front of the fireplace and should go beyond the opening of the fireplace on the side byu about half that distance. It should be made of brick, concrete, or some other non combustable material.
Maintaining the fireplace is also of the upmost importance. The firepalce should be cleaned regularly to remove buildup of ash. This ash can sometimes come into the house when the doors are opened. Another very large problem that can occur is creosote buildup. Creasote is the buildup of condensed wood smoke and often accumulates over time in a chimney or other areas where wood smoke often travels. It is important to periodically remove creosote since buildup of this material can cause numerous health and air quality problems.
You should also keep the fireplace ventilation unobstructed and free of debris. Cracks should be repaired quickly as the affect of cracks will be accentuated by the smoke or fireplace gasses. Moreover, a periodic inspection can also be helpful for piece of mind and the trained eye of a prosessional.
Using a fireplace safely is also very important for preventing injury and accidents. Many of these rules are common sense, but they still bear repeating:
1. Children should be kept away from the fire in the fireplace and the fireplace itself.
2. Never allow explosives or combustable materials like gasoline near the fireplace.
3. Always make sure that he fire is completeley out before going to sleep.
4. Make sure that ashes are cool before removing or throwing them away.
5. Keep the damper open to make sure that gasses and smoke have an opportunity to vent.
6. Do not make a fire that is too big for the fireplace. This can cause a chimney fire.
7. Keeps curtains, blankets, and sheets aways from the fireplace to avoid sparks.
8. Always have fire alarms in place along with a fire extinguisher.
9. Do not burn anything that might be toxic like plastic or polyeurothane in the fireplace.
Fireplaces that are not properly vented can be quite dangerous. They can sometimes remove oxygen from other parts of the house, or can bring carbon monoxide back into living areas. To prevent this, it can be helpful to have a small outside air vent for the fireplace that can supply enough oxygen for the fire in the fireplace. This can reduce some of the risks that can develop from poor air supplies and flows.