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Top 10 Tips for Fireplace and Woodstove Safety

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Fireplaces and wood stoves can add warmth and ambiance to our homes but they also bring an additional degree of risk, in the way of fires and injuries. By following a few simple safety tips you can avoid the risks and enjoy the glow of a warm fire on cold winter’s night.

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned before the start of every heating season. A flammable substance called creosote can build up on the chimney lining and catch fire. Also, overtime a chimney liner can develop cracks that will need to be repaired.
  2. Make sure that your wood stove is installed a safe distance from any combustible surface such as walls and windows. This is usually 36 inches but local building codes may vary so be sure to check your local building codes before installing a wood stove.
  3. Use a heat resistant pad under your wood stove to protect your floor. This may be as simple as a purchased insulated metal pad or it can be a raised area made of stone or brick.
  4. If you have small children it’s important to consider their safety around a fireplace or wood stove. Use a gate that encircles the wood stove to keep children from touching or running into the hot surface. Never leave a child unattended in a room where a fireplace or wood stove is in use.
  5. Keep the fireplace doors closed when the unit is in use. Use a fire resistant mat in front of the fireplace to protect the floor from popping coals. At the very least hot coals could create burn holes in your carpet.
  6. Store extra wood a safe distance from any heat source to prevent it from accidentally catching fire. Keep only enough wood nearby for your immediate needs.
  7. Keep furnishings and other items a safe distance from the heat source. Don’t attempt to dry clothing by placing it close to the stove.
  8. Install heat protective board on walls behind a wood stove reflect the heat back into the room and keep the wall from getting hot. You can also have a brick or stone panel built behind the stove.
  9. Never leave any fire unattended. If you need to leave or it’s time for bed, make certain the fire is completely out. Close the damper to the stove or fireplace as well as the doors on the fireplace.
  10. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house and test the batteries regularly. Teach your family what to do in the event of a fire and have a plan of action in place.

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