Fireplace Safety

It is the time of year when we start to use the fireplace. A crackling fire is the picture of a cozy home but it can also be a home hazard. Keeping an eye on a few key items inside and out will make sure your wood-burning fireplace is safe and ready to go for the burning season.   Here is a checklist of things to look for on the outside of your fireplace:

  • A chimney cap; this keeps out rain, animals away and helps prevents hot embers from landing on the roof.
  • Bird’s nest or any type of debris buildup on the cap.
  • Tree limbs that hang above or near the chimney.
  • Crumbling and/or missing mortar and bricks.
  • A chimney that rises at least 2 feet above where it exits the roof.
  • A flue liner that is visible above the chimney crown.
  • The chimney is plumb and not leaning to one side or the other.
  • Roof flashing that is tight against the chimney.

Here is a checklist for the inside of your fireplace:

  • A flue damper that opens, closes, and seals properly.
  • Daylight can be seen through the flue, no combustible material such as animal nests or other foreign objects in the flue.
  • There are no cracked bricks or missing mortar in the fireplace surround, hearth, and firebox.
  • No moisture can be seen inside the firebox, which could mean a faulty cap.

If you spot any problems always call a licensed chimney professional or mason to remedy the problem. There is no hard and fast rule on how often to clean your fireplace but you will need to keep a keen eye to determine if it is time for a cleaning. Use your fireplace poker to scrape away some of the creosote from the fireplace lining. If the creosote buildup is is 1/8 of an inch, or more you should schedule a cleaning.

by Elena Langlois | http://www.elena-langlois.com

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Custom Contracting, Inc. 1267A Massachusetts Ave. Arlington, MA 02476 Phone: 781-648-2835 Fax: 781-648-0907 Email: cci@custom-contracting.com

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