Wood Burning Safety Tips

As the weather gets cooler, more and more of us are making use of our wood burning fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is when was the last time you had a chimney sweep come out to the house to clean and perform a chimney inspection. You should get a chimney inspection annually, and your chimney cleaned as necessary by a trained and qualified technician. Both of these services can protect you and your family from a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. There are several other safety tips to consider when using your fireplace or wood stove:

  1. Keep the chimney clear.Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of your chimney.Install a chimney cap. This will keep debris and animals/birds out of the chimney.Choose the right fuel.Choose well-seasoned firewood that has been split for a minimum of six months – one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove. Dry evergreen branches literally explode when they catch fire, and burning the tree could lead to a buildup of creosote. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the back of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial fire lighter. Never use flammable liquids. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring. A screen with doors is especially handy.
  2. Keep the hearth area clear.Combustible material such as presents, blankets, stuffed animals, etc can easily catch fire if left too close to the fireplace or wood stove. Keep furniture at least 36” away from the hearth.Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.Place detectors throughout your house and check the batteries in the spring and fall. A good rule of thumb is, when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.Never leave a fire unattended.  Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces. Before turning in for the night, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished.
  3. By following these safety tips, you can protect your family and your home from fire.

If you need to hire a chimney sweep or need a chimney inspection, call Sweep A Chim today at 410-838-8519. We’re certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and licensed with the state of Maryland, MHIC #37037.

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