After a long hot summer in New York and New Jersey, it’s finally starting to feel like a new season is upon us. As temperatures start to dip and the leaves begin to change color, many people immediately turn their thoughts to cozying up by a fire with family and friends.
If you are fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, it’s important to take a few precautions before you light that first fire of the season. Here are a few things you should do to increase safety:
- Get your chimney inspected. This should be done by a professional once a year to make sure your chimney doesn’t become a fire hazard. Have the inspector check that the chimney is covered on the outside with a mesh screen or chimney cap that will prevent embers from flying up and landing on your roof or in nearby trees. This will also keep animals or debris from getting inside your chimney.
- Check for combustible objects outside. Make sure there are no tree limbs hanging near the chimney. Also look for piles of leaves or other debris near the opening of the chimney and if you find anything, get rid of it before using your fireplace.
- Make sure the flue is open. Many people light that first fire of the season, only to see their homes quickly fill up with smoke because the flue is still closed. The best way to avoid a smoky house is to make sure that your flue is open each and every time before you light a fire. Use a flashlight if you have a hard time seeing if the flue is open or closed.
- Always cover the front of the firebox. Use a screen to keep embers from blowing out of the firebox when the fire is lit. If you have glass doors, it’s usually best to keep the doors open slightly so the fire gets enough air to burn properly but you should always use a mesh screen for protection. Close the glass doors once the fire is extinguished to keep cool air from creeping into your house.
- Clear away fire hazards near the fireplace. Items like paper and blankets can easily catch fire if left too close. Make sure curtains and drapes are far from the fire and tie back if necessary. The hearth and surrounding area should be free from any materials that can catch fire from a spark or ember.
For information about fireplace installations, repairs or safety, contact Millenium Stoneworks at 732-519-1112.