Fall has officially started and so many people are turning to their fireplaces to keep away the chill of the evenings. While fireplaces are lovely and add warmth to any room, it is very important that they be maintained and inspected regularly. There are a number of special precautions that need to be taken with fireplaces.
One of the most important things to do is never burn charcoal or use a hibachi grill in the fireplace. Both of these items release deadly carbon monoxide when they burn. This can easily be transmitted to the rest of the house because of the open nature of a fireplace.
On the same note, do not close the flue while the fire is still smoldering. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up in the room. It does not take a lot of carbon monoxide for people to become sick. Small animals and children can also be at serious risk of death.
To prevent the fire in the fireplace from spreading through the rest of the house, it is important to enclose the fireplace’s opening with glass doors or a sturdy screen of some sort. Also, try to keep items that could easily catch fire away from the fireplace.
In your own home, do not use gasoline, kerosene, or lighter fluid to start a fire. Only dry, seasoned hardwood should be burned. In addition, lighting a fire with a long-stemmed match is much safer. The long-stemmed match keeps the human further from any flames. This reduces the chances of burns.
Another important thing to do is have the flue and chimney inspected. Over time, ash and other substances from burning fires can build up. These can prevent smoke from escaping or, in some cases, even catch on fire.