Did you know that the fireplace is the third most desired home feature after outdoor porches and upgraded kitchens? In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), around 55 million homes in the U.S., or 50 percent of all American households, own at least one fireplace or freestanding stove. In the United States, you will find a wide variety of hearth products to choose from. If you are looking to install a fireplace in your own home, there are a number of things you should consider, the most important thing being: you and your family’s safety.
Your chimney, if not maintained properly, may trigger an unwanted fire at anytime. Thus regular maintenance is of utmost importance. Ideally, you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. However, if you are using an older chimney, you may require cleaning it more frequently. There are many other factors to consider when deciding how often you should schedule your routine chimney maintenance; for instance, the wood type you use.
One good idea would be to schedule any inspection or maintenance during the off season, such as the summer. That way, you can avoid the crowd and expect more competitive pricing. However, if you notice any alarming signs in your chimney, such as a loud noise or black smoke and sparks within the fire, you should not delay your inspection at all.
In Case of Fire
If a fire breaks out, call the emergency service for immediate help. However, if you are confident you can tackle the fire on your own, go ahead and use a fire extinguisher. Be sure to keep a safe distance from the fireplace. If you use the fire extinguisher from too close, the burning ember may fly into the air due to the heavy pressure of the hose. Make sure you extinguish the fire and any glowing embers completely. After you have done your best to ensure the fire has been put out, consider covering the remains with a metal sheet or trash can lid, so as to extinguish any hidden flames. If possible, consider pouring water on the roof.
Outdoor Fireplace Safety
There are important safety tips to consider for an outdoor fireplace as well. Have a fire extinguisher handy and be sure to follow the provided instructions for proper installation and maintenance. Make sure to keep any hearth products well away from wooden furniture. Install your fireplace on a steady surface and ensure the surface is not made of wood or glass.
The importance of regular inspection and maintenance cannot be stressed enough. You should keep the area around the fireplace clean and unobstructed. If possible, get a childproof fireplace gate installed. It is also important to install smoke detectors in parts of your home.
Also, never use trash or cardboard boxes as fuel for your indoor or outdoor gas fireplace. This is extremely dangerous! Keep the windows open for air circulation, unless you are using an unvented gas fireplace. Finally, never leave the fireplace unattended while it is lit.
These are some useful safety tips for using a fireplace. Follow these tips to avoid or at least reduce any risks of fireplace accidents in your home.
Do you have any other important fireplace safety tips? Please tell us in the comments below!