5 Mistakes When Using A Fireplace

A fireplace in your home can be a welcoming and warm place for family to gather. However, there is some care you must take when using a fire place. Failure to understand how to use your fireplace and chimney properly could lead to disastrous consequences. Check out these common mistakes you may make when using your fireplace.

Not Having the Right Safety Equipment

Before you light a single flame in your fireplace, make sure you have the right equipment. For starters, this includes having a screen for the fireplace, so you can keep the embers inside. You'll also want to make sure you have a fireplace poker, brush and shovel, so you can handle the fire properly. Above all, however, it's imperative you have working alarms in your home. This includes an adequate fire alarm that can sense when smoke begins to enter the home. You'll also want to have a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you to invisible, odorless, deadly carbon monoxide.

Failure to Get an Inspection and Cleaning

Once you use your fireplace frequently, you'll learn to know when you need an inspection, repair or a cleaning because you'll be able to spot the warning signs before they become an issue. However, when you're just starting out, it's important to get your chimney and fireplace regularly inspected and cleaned. An Inspection costs about $60 to $80, but the price will increase if it needs to be cleaned or repaired. On average, you should have your fireplace inspected at least every two to five years. Make sure you have it inspected and cleaned before you use it for the first time.

Not Using the Damper Correctly

On a cold night, you may have noticed even colder air from outside coming through your chimney. This is likely because the damper is open. The damper is like an open/close switch for your chimney. When you aren't using, you keep it closed to prevent cold air from entering or hot air from leaving. When you do use the fireplace, however, it's important you open the damper. The damper needs to be open every time you have a fire burning, and it should be open until the fire is completely out. This will prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from entering your living space.

Putting the Wrong Fuel in the Fireplace

If you haven't used a fireplace before, you may not know what you can burn. Typically, you only want to use firewood and burning logs with no type of fuel (gasoline, kerosene, etc. Similarly, you should not burn anything that you use in an outdoor grill, such as charcoal. This will create carbon monoxide as well as flammable vapors. Lastly, don't use your fireplace as a garbage pit. Some materials, such as pressure treated wood may allow dangerous toxins to enter your home.

Keeping Your House Airtight

You want a home that is airtight because it makes your home more energy efficient when it comes to heating and cooling. However, when you are using your fireplace, you don't want your home to be completely sealed, so crack open a window or two. The reason behind this is negative pressure. Basically, a lot of equipment in your home needs oxygen, such as the furnace. If it can't get it from anywhere else, it will pull it from the fireplace and the open chimney, which can pull carbon monoxide into your home.

If you want to start using your fireplace for all the amazing benefits, make sure you are using it correctly. Keep your family and home safe from fire and carbon monoxide. Now that you understand the consequences of making these common mistakes, get started on protecting yourself by ensuring your fire alarm system is adequate and working. For more information, contact companies like Eastern Fire.