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Published on January 4, 2021
Before you start up your fireplace or wood stove to warm and brighten up your home during the cold winter months, always remember to clear these three things: the airway, ash buildup, and the hearth. Our partners at Red River Mutual have put together some safety tips for your fireplace.
All chimneys deteriorate through heavy use, neglect and age. Some of the many problems include cracked or missing bricks, a blocked flue, missing mortar, a deteriorated crown, corroded flashing, corroded pre-fabricated chimneys and creosote build-up.
Creosote forms when unburned waste products from wood adhere to the sides of the chimney. The worst danger is that creosote can ignite inside your chimney. A hot and quickly spreading chimney fire can cause damage to your entire house! A disaster such as this can be easily avoided by having your chimney checked annually.
Be sure to follow the manufacturers' instructions and the local building codes for proper installation, use and maintenance of your wood-burning stove.
Always start your fire using paper and small pieces of kindling. Never use accelerants to start a fire. Things can get out of hand in a hurry!
Burn only well-seasoned wood. Green or unseasoned wood burns cooler than well-seasoned wood and can cause creosote to build up at a much faster rate.
Be sure to clean the ashes out of your wood-burning stove on a regular basis. Store the ashes in a covered metal container. Hot coals in discarded ashes can easily ignite grass, leaves and trees if left uncovered. Keep the ash container at a safe distance away from the house and any other nearby buildings.
Change the batteries and test each smoke alarm unit regularly. If for some reason you have disconnected a smoke alarm, hook it back up as this precaution saves lives! Smoke alarms can be purchased at most hardware, home building, and a variety of retail stores and is an inexpensive way to protect you and your family.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy and make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it.
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