Wood fireplaces are valuable additions to any home!
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They keep you warm, beautify your home, and can add value to your property. However, they can be pretty risky as they pose a fire hazard. Here are valuable wood fireplace usage tips to keep you warm and safe:
Use the Right Wood
Using the right fuel ensures efficiency and reduces the risk of fires. Using seasoned hardwoods like birch, maple, and oak is advisable. Avoid using softwoods like pine and cedar, as they get consumed quickly, forcing you to buy fuel more often.
Moreover, softwoods produce soot and creosote, affecting air quality and increasing the risk of respiratory infections. For these reasons, the extra money required to purchase hardwoods is justified.
Use a Protective Glass Film
The bright orange flames on an open wood fireplace are cute to gaze at, but they pose a safety risk. As the wood burns, some splinters might ‘jump’ off the fire damaging your furniture or injuring pets and people in your house.
Adding a protective glass film is essential to form a barrier between the fire and other elements in your house. The cover must be a poor heat conductor, so kids and pets don’t get burned when touching it.
Inspect and Cap the Chimney
Check your chimney for cracks and loose bricks before using the fireplace. You should also inspect the chimney liner for any vulnerabilities. If you notice any weaknesses, call a professional to conduct repairs.
If your chimney is pristine, use wire mesh to cap the top to prevent birds, rodents, and other unwanted creatures from entering. The cap also stops leaves, twigs, and debris from littering the chimney. Since wire mash is susceptible to rusting, ensure you replace the cap every two years.
Remove Soot and Creosote
If you use damp wood for extended periods, creosote accumulates in the fireplace. Creosote is flammable, making it a massive risk to your home’s safety. Once the fire is out, use a wire brush to scrub the black residue on your chimney walls, being careful to avoid damaging the liner.
Like creosote, soot accumulates rapidly if you use low-quality firewood. It’s also a fire risk because it covers vast areas. As a result, removing soot is best left to professionals.
Besides reducing the fire risk, removing soot and creosotes improves airflow, increasing your fireplace’s efficiency.
Open the Damper
Opening the damper before starting fires ensures all smoke and toxic fumes blow outside. Always remember to keep it open as long as the fire is lit. If you experience challenges opening the damper, please avoid using the fireplace until a professional rectifies the issue.
Before you stack wood to light a fire, remove the ash from previous sessions. Use a broom to clear the ash and throw it outside. Ensure the fire is entirely out, as some wood can remain hot for up to three days. Also, leave a little to help build a new fire.
A fireplace keeps you cosy and warm, but all that can turn into an accident without proper safety measures. Use the tips above to prevent hazardous consequences.