7 Tips that will help assure a safe winter season with your wood fireplace

Posted Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

If you are like the team at Cressy, you are currently pondering the question – will we have mild weather this winter or will we be faced with wind, snow and ice storms? No matter what Mother Nature has in store for the Puget Sound region, if you have a wood fireplace or insert, it’s a good idea to get prepared. Before you spark up the logs, remember that fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. Please make sure you following these 7 safety tips.

  1. Hire a Chimney Sweep

    The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Many services cost around $100 and the peace of mind is worth the expense.

  2. Check for Damage

    In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.

  3. Cap the Chimney

    A cap that is fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and will help keep rain, animals and falling debris from entering. Be sure to replace or repair a cap that’s missing or damaged.

  4. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods

    The best wood to burn is a dense wood, such as oak, that’s been split and stored in a dry place for at least six months. Green wood and softwoods like pine produce more creosote. This by-product is flammable and can build up in the chimney.

  5. Don’t Overload

    Small fires will generate less smoke and less creosote buildup. A fire that’s too large or too hot can crack the chimney.

  6. Build It Right

    A general rule is to place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling and paper, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.

  7. Use a Spark Guard

    In order to prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox, use a spark guard with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard that is placed in front of an open flame is extremely important especially for a room that is left unoccupied.

The team at Cressy Door and Fireplaces wishes everyone in the Puget Sound region, a safe holiday season.