Fireplaces can create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere in your home. If not maintained properly, however, they can be dangerous. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 31 percent of home fires between 2011 and 2015 were caused by fireplaces and chimneys, resulting in an estimated 262 million dollars in direct property damage each year.
At such a high cost, it’s crucial that homeowners with fireplaces know how to use them safely. Use these fireplace maintenance and safety tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® to learn how you can safely heat your home all season.
Fireplace safety tips
Use these safety tips to help prevent a fire from getting out of control:
Only burn hardwood and approved manufactured logs
Burning items that are unsafe can cause soot and creosote to build up in your chimney, which can combust and ignite a chimney fire. At the same time, using unapproved materials like wet wood, trash, paper, lighter fuel or other dangerous items, a fire that once began in your fireplace could spread through your entire home. To stay safe, only use dry or seasoned wood and approved fire logs and starter logs in your fireplace.
Always use a fire screen
Fire screens can help keep embers in the fireplace, preventing them from flying out into your room. For extra safety, keep flammable items away from the immediate vicinity. This includes holiday decorations, wrapping paper, furniture, carpet, people and pets.
Maintain your fireplace
Have your fireplace and chimney inspected before you use it for the first time this year. That way, professionals can clean out any creosote build-up, detect any chimney leaks and ensure that the structure is safe for use all season long.
Practice basic fire safety
Use these essential fire safety tips to help prevent a fire in your home:
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by to douse small flames.
- Test your smoke detectors monthly to ensure they will alert the household if a fire breaks out.
Then, use these fireplace-specific safety tips to help prevent a fire from spreading:
- Always open the damper before lighting a fire to avoid trapping poisonous gasses in your home.
- Never leave your fireplace unattended.
- Never overload the fireplace.
With these tips in mind, you can help keep your home cozy and safe this season. For more fireplace safety precautions, read the recommendations provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Contact the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore
Despite our best efforts to protect our homes, fires still happen. When they occur, they can cause serious damage to your home. Even if you get the fire out quickly, soot damage can still lurk throughout your home and cause significant destruction.
In the unfortunate event that you’ve experienced fire damage this season, know that you don’t have to go through the clean-up process alone. Contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to get your house back to normal as quickly as possible. Our fire and smoke damage removal services act fast to guide you through crisis to resolution, all while keeping you informed of the process. With the equipment, experience and expertise required to get the job done right, our professionals are available 24/7 every day of the year to help restore your home after a disaster.