From 2014 to 2018, heating equipment was responsible for 14 percent of house fires. It also contributed to 19 percent of home fire deaths and 12 percent of injuries.
Heating equipment comes in different types, but for the above data, chimneys and fireplaces accounted for 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of all fire incidences. Conflagrations from these areas are classified as “confined” because they often don’t extend beyond the source. Nevertheless, fires that started in fireplaces and chimneys had a 9 percent death rate. Thus, it is important that precautions are taken when lighting a fire in your fireplace.
Fireplace Safety Tips
To prevent fire damage resulting from flames in the fireplace, you should consider the safety tips below:
1. Install a Detector
In particular, you should install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, although this should not be restricted to the fireplace. Instead, the device should be installed in all areas of your house.
A carbon monoxide detector can tell if your fireplace exhaust is getting expelled through the chimney. It can also detect other gases that have built up due to incomplete combustion. Normally, the device has an alarm that will sound off if a chimney or flue leaks occur.
2. Add Safety Gates
Even with the finest woods, embers could still escape from fireplaces.These can be dangerous, but they can be avoided by adding safety screens or gates around your fireplace. They prevent embers from leaving the fireplace and setting off a spark when they land on the carpet.
3. Use Hardwood Logs
Unseasoned logs are wood with high moisture content. They are inexpensive and can provide sufficient heat but are also dangerous. Creosote and soot can accumulate in these logs and cause serious damage to your home.
On the other hand, hardwood logs have been dried and treated with chemicals to lower their moisture content. It is crucial, however, that you purchase these logs only from a trusted supplier. It will ensure they have no soot marks, especially since hardwood logs come kiln-dried.
4. Consider Fireplace Sweeping Logs
These are made from a special wood specifically designed for cleaning your chimneys. Also known as “creosote washing.” and “chimney sweeping” logs, they are like regular firewood logs and can be lighted as such. These firewood cleaners are great for removing cobwebs and are especially useful when you don’t have the time to clean your fireplace manually.
5. Install a Direct Vent
Direct vents are safer than others and ensure that dangerous gases like carbon monoxide are restricted within the confines of the fireplace. This is especially important for fireplaces powered by gas. Carbon monoxide can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and even death, so it’s crucial that your fireplace venting system is not damaged or installed incorrectly. Otherwise, carbon monoxide poisoning is likely to happen.
6. Install a Smoke Detector
To create safe fireplaces, deepwaterco.com recommends that a smoke detector be placed over your chimney. This can identify changes in air pressure caused by the rise of hot gases. If a change is detected, a built-in alarm will sound off.
7. Keep Ornaments Out
No flammable items should be placed near the fireplace, especially flowers and plants. If ornaments need to be placed for aesthetics, ensure that these are fire-resistant. It is crucial, especially if you have children or pets in your home.
8. Install a Chimney Cap
This is usually made to fit snugly inside your chimney and will help keep debris from falling in. However, you should check if the cap will be compatible with your chimney and its brickwork, particularly regarding thickness.
9. Perform Regular Maintenance
Fireplaces can be made safer by doing regular inspections and cleaning. A chimney sweep should be performed every five years, depending on how frequently you use the fireplace.
It would help if you used a fireplace shovel or an old bristled toothbrush when cleaning. These are suitable for removing soot and ash that may have accumulated in your fireplace over time.
10. Spread the Embers
If the flames become too strong, you can spread the wood and embers around the fireplace using a fireplace shovel. The flames will eventually weaken, even though it may take some time.
11. Plan an Escape Route
There should be an established escape route if a fire suddenly erupts from your fireplace. Ideally, this should lead to a back door or another passage that will take you away from the fire.
Fireplaces are great heating tools that show how far man has come since he first discovered fire. A fireplace should regularly be maintained to ensure that it works fine and will not be the cause of a major disaster.
Other than maintenance, safety mechanisms can be put into place to secure your fireplace further. These can include the installation of a smoke detector, a chimney cap, safety gates, and a firewood cleaning log.