Wood Fire Safety

While fires burning in the fireplace are wonderful, if not done right, they can pose a variety of risks. To ensure you burn your fireplace properly, all you need to do is follow some simple precautions. In this article, we will address the primary things you need to look at or for to make sure you have a safe and efficient fire.

Creosote Buildup

One of the most important safety factors associated with a fireplace is make sure creosote buildup is cleaned. As wood burns, the smoke creates creosote in the flue pipe and chimney, which is a crusty type deposit. The problem is that if creosote buildup is not cleaned on a regular basis, which is suggested annually, a dangerous fire could ignite. To help reduce the buildup of creosote, you want to make sure you burn only seasoned wood and never burn paper, plastic, driftwood, treated or painted wood, or any type of garbage.

Softwood Kindling

Now, another important safety tip is that when starting a wood-burning fire, never use lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene, or any type of dangerous chemical. Instead, you want to use small pieces of softwood for kindling. If needed, you can add a couple of pieces of rolled up newspaper. The key to getting your fire started is to place the kindling crisscross with the newspaper tucked underneath. Once the kindling catches fire, place a small log on top. Once that log ignites, add another log, keeping it in a straight line with the first log and close together so air does not escape.

Fitted Screen

Unfortunately, small sparks can be dangerous as well, which is why you want to use a fitted screen. Although many people will simply place a decorative screen in front of a roaring fire, this does not protect the floor or carpeting from catching fire. Today, you have a number of options for beautiful fireplace screens and doors, giving you the appearance you want while also providing safety.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Next, always have a carbon monoxide detector in the home, preferably near the fireplace, as well as a working fire extinguisher. The thing to remember is that a roaring fire should not smell like smoke. Therefore, if you begin to smell smoke, even a slight amount, chances are the fireplace has creosote buildup, or is not vented appropriately. If this happens, you should have a professional chimney sweep perform a check and any required maintenance.