If you have your own fireplace, then odds are you’re going to use it throughout the winter to help create a warm and cozy atmosphere in your home. Though, use comes with wear and tear, and it means fire damage restoration service is needed in the future. It is important that you take the following precautions to help decrease the timeline for restoration and minimize the fire damage that a fireplace can present:
- Have your chimney inspected – You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned every year. All kinds of things can clog your chimney, from debris to animal nests. The last thing you want to do is to set a fire only to have your home fill up with smoke because the chimney is blocked.
- Install a chimney cap – A chimney cap allows smoke to escape out the sides but helps to prevent things like rain, snow and debris from falling down the chimney. A chimney cap also helps to reduce downdrafts.
- Check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms – You should have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Before every winter season, test them to make sure that they are in working order. You may need to change the batteries as well. Properly functioning CO detectors and smoke alarms could help warn you of potentially life-threatening CO levels or the breakout of a fire before it’s too late.
- Keep the fireplace space clear – Make sure that there’s nothing flammable nearby the fireplace, such as furniture, carpeting, drapes or holiday trees. If embers spark out of the fire, items that are too close could catch fire.
- Don’t overload the fire – Build your fire up slowly. If you put too much wood on the fire at once, it’s going to generate more smoke and creosote buildup. Creosote is a flammable by-product of combustion that could end up coating your chimney, which you don’t want. Additionally, overloading your fire can cause it to get too hot too quickly. Too much heat is a primary factor of fire damage restoration.
- Add a spark guard – It is common for embers to shoot out of a fireplace. Add a spark guard in the form of glass fireplace doors or a mesh metal screen.
- Never leave a fire unattended – You should never leave a fire unattended (even with a spark guard in place), especially if you have children or pets in your home. Put the fire out before going to bed.
- Teach your children fire safety – Make sure your kids understand that they should not get too close to the fireplace. Tell them to find an adult right away if something goes wrong, such as if an ember catches something on fire, instead of trying to put it out themselves.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby – You should have a fire extinguisher that’s easily accessible nearby just in case a fire does break out even if you take every single precaution to make sure that your fireplace is safe to use. Having a fire extinguisher nearby could help limit potential damage if a fire does break out. It could also help to prevent a small fire from exploding into a major fire.
These are just a few tips for using your fireplace safely this winter season. If you do experience a fire in your home, then be sure to contact us at Courtesy Care in Bartlesville, OK, to schedule our fire damage restoration services. We can perform 24/7 emergency smoke and fire damage restoration, thereby potentially saving your belongings from ruin.