While a wood-burning flame during the fall and winter can be very enjoyable, it also holds a lot of responsibilities. Not knowing and understanding the best practices for burning wood can lead to hazardous situations, including a devastating house fire. As fireplace safety is our top priority at The Mad Hatter, we would like to share some tips with you from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about burning wood safely. We think these tips will help you to enjoy your fireplace without worrying about any hazards.
Do not place combustible items near your fireplace.
To avoid anything catching on fire from a jumping ember or spark, keep all flammable items, including drapes, curtains, furniture, books, and newspapers, a good distance away from your fireplace.
Only burn seasoned wood.
To best efficiently burn wood, be sure your firewood has been dried for at least six months after it has been cut. Never burn wet or green wood as it can lead to an accelerated accumulation of creosote buildup on the inner walls of your chimney, which is a fire hazard.
Start your fires organically.
Never use gasoline, kerosene, or charcoal starter to ignite a fire in your fireplace. Instead, use dry kindling, newspapers, or any other all-natural or organic fire starter.
Burn hot fires.
You do not want a smoldering fire in your fireplace as these can be unsafe and inefficient. Hot fires reduce the buildup of flammable creosote and help the smoke and other byproducts of combustion exit your chimney quickly.
Use your fireplace doors.
Unless you are loading in wood or stoking the fire, you should keep the doors of your fireplace closed to keep toxic gases like carbon monoxide from entering your home.
Clean out the ashes regularly.
Make a habit of safely removing ashes from your fireplace into a metal container with a lid. Store this container outside away from wood on concrete or brick.
Have a fire extinguisher around whenever you are burning a fire in the fireplace. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detectors throughout your house on every level. Be sure to check these batteries each fall and spring to be sure they are properly working.
Need more safety tips for burning wood? Contact us at The Mad Hatter to learn how to be safe while enjoying a fire this fall and winter.