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Fireplace Use & Safety Tips
Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney annually - it is best to use a Chimney Sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) or the National Chimney Sweep Guild. A dirty fireplace can cause chimney fires and inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue.
Keep a working fire extinguisher on hand, making sure that all family members know how to operate it.
Place working smoke detectors throughout the house, and change the batteries twice yearly. If you have smoke alarms that are hardwired into your home's electrical system, check to see if they have battery back-ups.
When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace, preferably on a grate; do not overload it with logs, and do not use it to burn garbage or Christmas trees.
Burn hardwood firewood (oak, madrone, hickory, ash, etc.), it burns cleaner than softwood firewood (fir, pine, cedar, etc.), and will help minimize the creosote buildup which causes chimney fires.
Use seasoned wood, wood with a moisture content of less than 20 percent. Keep wood stacked, covered, away from the house and off the ground. Bring in only as much as you need for one evening to prevent insects that may be in the wood from entering your home. Seasoned wood kept in a woodshed typically has a 20% moisture content; wood kept outside, under a tarp, typically has a 30% moisture content.
Make sure the fire gets enough air to burn properly, but be sure to close the damper when the fire is out to keep warm room air inside.
Make a fire that fits your fireplace. A fire that is too large or too hot wastes fuel and can crack your chimney.
Periodically inspect your chimney liner for cracks or deterioration, and check your brickwork chimney and/or fireplace for loose mortar or brick; repair where necessary. Maintain your fireplace well and it will serve you for many years.
Keep debris and flammable material at least 36 inches from your fireplace and chimney; check the flue for obstructions (including bird or squirrel nests), and trim tree parts away from the chimney. The purchase and installation of a spark arrestor and/or a bird and animal guard is a good idea.
Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids to kindle or rekindle a fire because the flammable vapors can explode. Never use fuels near a fire; explosive vapors can travel the length of a room.
Remove colored comic sections before rolling newspapers into logs. The colored inks contain lead and can produce toxic gases.
Do not use coal, charcoal or polystyrene packaging in a fireplace unless the fireplace is designed to handle the excess heat and smoke which occurs when burning these materials.
Be sure that all ashes have thoroughly cooled before you dispose of them. Put ashes in a lidded metal container to prevent a possible fire and provide a sturdy place to store them. Ashes make good fertilizer in gardens, flowerbeds, etc.
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JaElle Enterprises LLC
DBA Action Fireplace
PO Box 722
Clinton MO 64732
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Senior Consultant, Ron Phillips:
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