Madison,
14
December
2015
|
08:08 PM
America/Chicago

Keep the home fires burning – safely – with these fireplace safety tips

Summary

On a cold winter night, a warm fire in the fireplace is just the thing to ward off the season’s chill. Just be sure your fireplace is safe to use.

On a cold winter night, a warm fire in the fireplace is just the thing to ward off the season’s chill. Just be sure your fireplace is safe to use.

Whether you use a fireplace for heat or that cozy feeling, here are some tips to keep you and your home safe this winter, and to keep your fireplace burning brightly and safely.

  • Remember to open the flue on the fireplace before starting the fire.

  • If you burn wood, only burn dry, seasoned wood, not scrap wood, treated wood or trash.

  • Create a three-foot “safety zone” that is free of flammable material around any fireplace.

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.

  • Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

  • Don’t close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.

  • Make sure all vent pipes extend at least three feet above your roof.

  • Always have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all levels of your home – especially sleeping areas.

  • Equip the fireplace with a metal screen to catch burning embers or shifting logs.

  • Never use a fireplace for grilling food or burning holiday wrappings.

  • If the fireplace is gas operated, be sure to move the gas valve to the "closed" position when you are not using it.

Outside of Your Home

Take a few precautions so you can enjoy the warmth and coziness your fireplace brings.

  • Protect the chimney top with a spark-arrester screen. This should help keep animals, rain and other debris out and prevent burning embers from escaping and landing on nearby combustibles or landscaping, which could ignite. Also, trim any branches that may drop leaves or twigs into your chimney, creating a fire hazard.

  • Inspect the chimney for cracks on an annual basis. If repairs are necessary, have them performed by a reputable contractor.

  • Have the chimney flue cleaned annually by a professional. If you live in an apartment, consult with your building management to ensure this is done properly and regularly.

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About American Family Insurance
Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation’s third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 358th on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam.