Burning a beautiful wood fire in your home’s fireplace can make any winter night feel cozy and warm. But if that fire were to get out of control, you may get a little bit more heat than you bargained for. Your homeowner’s insurance will cover you for most if not all of the damages (after your deductible is met) up to the limit of your policy. But preventing household fires due to fireplace accidents is important. Listed below are 5 tips to help keep your home safe from fires this winter:
- Start with a clean fireplace and chimney. If you have not used your fireplace in a while, definitely have it cleaned from top to bottom. There are many things that could be going on in the chimney – creosote buildup, nesting animals, leaves, and other debris could all be up there just waiting to cause a fire. Have everything cleaned out before you start your first fire.
- Only use non-sappy hardwood. Do not be tempted to burn that pine from the fallen tree in your backyard. Anything with too much pine can burn hot and cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote can lead to chimney fires which can then lead to house fires.
- Always use the screen. Prevent embers from popping out of the fireplace onto your furniture or carpet. Those small embers can be the catalyst for a huge house fire very easily. Keeping them contained with a fireplace screen is important.
- Never leave a fire unattended. You will want to monitor the heat and height of the fire to make sure it can be contained properly. Always have a fire extinguisher close by in case it gets out of control.
- Remove cooled ash. Once the fire is out completely, place the cooled ash and coals into a heat resistant bucket and dispose of them properly.