Fire Safety 101 for Homeowners
Fire safety pertains to more than your chimney. Learn how to properly maintain your home to avoid the risks of home fires.
More than 3,400 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 17,500 are injured. How can you be protected? Don’t rely on luck, plan ahead to ensure your safety.
Most people don’t realize that fire safety is more than making sure you dispose of your embers correctly. Your fireplace system is a complex appliance that requires maintenance. Even when it’s not lit, your gas or wood-burning appliance can be a fire risk if not properly cared for.
Preventing Chimney Fires
What can you do to prevent chimney fires? First things first, schedule your annual inspection with our team. Part of our inspection is assessing the amount and type of creosote build up. The more glazed creosote you have, the higher your chances are of experiencing a fire. Here are some additional things you should be doing:
- Keep the area in front of the fireplace free of flammable materials, including rugs, pillows, decorations or papers. Make sure that any decorations on the mantle are secure and don’t hang over the fireplace opening where they could be ignited.
- Always use a fireplace screen to ensure that sparks remain inside the fireplace and that flammable materials don’t accidentally make their way into the fireplace.
- Only burn the fuel intended for your fireplace. Never burn wrapping paper, cardboard, charcoal, garbage or other unintended materials in your fireplace. Don’t use a fire starter or other accelerator in your fireplace.
- Install a cap at the top of your chimney to make sure that animals or other debris can’t enter into and block your chimney.
- Burn seasoned firewood. Only burn firewood that has been properly dried and seasoned. Wet firewood burns cooler and emits more smoke, causing dangerous and flammable creosote to build up in your chimney more quickly. If you’re using manufactured logs, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Leave the damper open until all embers have finished burning to prevent dangerous gases, like carbon monoxide, from building up inside your home.
- If your fireplace has glass doors, make sure they are fully open when a fire is burning to ensure proper airflow.
- Store ash in an air-tight metal container when you remove it from your fireplace. Wet the wood ash prior to attaching the metal lid. Never store the metal ash container on your deck, in your garage, or in any location that may allow the heat inside to transfer from the container to nearby flammable items. Place the container on a non combustible surface such as stone, concrete brick or slate away from the home.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure the fire has burned out completely before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Check and change the batteries of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure you know where it is and how to use it.
But Don’t Forget About Your Other Appliances
Your fireplace is not the only appliance that can lead to fires. Of course, there is the oven or stove, but don’t forget your furnaces and dryer vents.
Dirty dryer vents account for an alarming amount of fires every single year, and they can contribute to harmful toxins backing up into your home and affecting loved ones. On top of this, clogs keep your appliance from running efficiently and running multiple dryer loads a day will raise your energy bills significantly. To protect your home you need to schedule a cleaning every year.
Furnaces may not have chimneys, but they do have flues which are prone to build-up. This build-up or leaks can lead to home fires. The best way to protect yourself from a fire is to get an inspection and flue cleaning.
Book Fire Safety Maintenance
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU CALL:
When you call we will have a couple questions for you.
- What is the appliance needing inspection? Is it a furnace, wood stove, or gas fireplace?
- What does the outside of the chimney look like? Is brick, stone, block, covered in siding or a metal pipe?
- Are you having any problems with your system? Campfire smell or odor, animals or birds getting in, system smokes inside the home when you use it, or water leaks?
- Are you buying or selling your home?
This information allows us to explain what our technicians will do when they come to your home and what to expect during our inspection process.
*If you don’t know these answers, it’s okay! We can help you figure it out.
You may have noticed that we don’t have prices listed with our services. That is because pricing is decided on multiple factors including the number of flues, type of appliance, etc. We are not the cheapest, but our testimonials are proof that we make our clients happy. For more information on pricing before your appointment, give us a call!