As much as you love relaxing in front of the cozy and warm fireplace, you should always remember that fire is one of the most dangerous elements on earth. Knowing the best safety practices to follow is very important every time you light a fire in your home. Because safety is our top priority, Blue Ridge Chimney Services would like to help you reduce fire hazards this winter by sharing with you a few fireplace safety tips.

Only burn seasoned firewood.

Seasoned firewood has been allowed to dry for at least six months after being cut so that it has a low moisture content. This type of firewood burns longer and produces less smoke and creosote, which makes it less of a fire hazard. You should also never burn treated or painted wood, gift wrapping paper, or trash in your fireplace.

Make sure the damper is completely open.

Before you start a fire, you must check to see that you have opened the damper. If the damper is closed, smoke, gases, and the other byproducts of combustion will not be able to exit out of your home through the chimney. You should leave the damper open until the fire has been fully extinguished to avoid carbon monoxide leaks.

Keep the area surrounding the fireplace clear.

You will want to place furniture, books, curtains, rugs, and any other combustible items at least three feet away from your fireplace to avoid the risk of an accidental fire. However, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends setting up a metal fireplace screen to prevent hot sparks and embers from jumping out of the fireplace and to keep kids and pets away from the fire.

Install smoke and carbon monoxide detector alarms in your home.

In case of an accidental fire or carbon monoxide leak, these alarms could save your life. You should install one of each type on every floor of your home and outside each bedroom. Change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and the fall for Daylight Savings Time.

Have your chimney professionally swept and inspected every year.

To ensure your fireplace and chimney are working efficiently and safely, the NFPA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and other national fire safety organizations recommend scheduling an annual appointment with a certified chimney sweep for this important maintenance task.

If you live in the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Chimney Services can help you with your fireplace and chimney maintenance needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.