Safely Using Your Fireplace

The heating season will be here soon, and there’s not much more cozy and inviting on a chilly fall day than getting comfortable in front of a fireplace with your family. Before you use your fireplace for the first time this season, you need to make sure it’s safe for use.

Inspect Your Chimney

The first thing to do is take a look at the chimney from outside your house. If you have a two story home, you may need to use a pair of binoculars to check certain elements of the chimney. Is the chimney cap in good order? It keeps out birds, squirrels and the elements (wind, snow, rain and ice). It’s also responsible for stopping burning embers from landing on your roof. If the cap is damaged, your home could suffer serious damage.

Additionally, check to make sure that there aren’t any tree limbs growing too near to or above the chimney as they could accidentally catch on fire if a burning ember escapes. Also, during your visual inspection, take a look at the flue liner and make sure it’s in good condition. It should be visible from the top of the chimney’s crown.

Inside Your Home

Use a flashlight to inspect the damper. Make sure it opens and closes properly. Also, be sure it has a tight seal. When it’s closed, you shouldn’t be able to see daylight. Additionally, you should check the area surrounding the fireplace, including the hearth, firebox, glass doors and gas logs (if you have a natural gas fireplace).

If you notice any problems with your chimney or fireplace, call a licensed professional to inspect and take care of the situation. This type of work is not suitable for the average homeowner to try and take care of on their own. If you have any questions or can’t inspect any of these items yourself safely, it would be best to call a licensed professional.

Get more fireplace safety tips from HouseLogic.