As we approach the holiday season, our fireplaces tend to see more use. I mean, let’s face it – there’s nothing that quite beats the ambiance of a crackling fire on a cold, snowy evening. That said, things can turn south quickly if your system isn’t operating safely or efficiently.

Because of this, the team here at Frechette Chimney is here to offer some safety tips to guarantee cozier and more comfortable nights ahead. Read up, then give us a call to schedule any necessary maintenance. We’d love to help you out!

Book Your Annual Inspection

First things first, be sure to book your yearly chimney inspection if you haven’t already. Getting this done before your burning season officially kicks off is imperative for keeping things running appropriately.

Regular inspections give your sweep the chance to look for any cracks, holes, or other imperfections, all of which could give smoke and flames easy pathways into your home. They’ll also be able to check your creosote levels. Because creosote is highly flammable, the more you have of it, the higher your risk is of experiencing chimney fires. If you have too much, you’ll definitely want a sweeping done before getting fires going for the season.

If you haven’t gotten this maintenance scheduled, give us a call today! We’d be happy to look things over.

Check Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Fireplace Safety Tips for Fall & Winter - York County ME - Bob Frechette imageHave you checked your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors lately? Or do you even have any installed in your home? These are a vital part of staying safer, especially if you have a fireplace you put to use! If fire and smoke should spread at night, often people won’t wake up to notice it, and since carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, noting its presence with basic senses is nearly impossible.

In the end, these devices save countless lives per year, and it’s well worth having them installed throughout your home. There should be at least one on every level of the home and outside of all bedrooms. They should also all be synced up, so if one goes off they all go off.

Be sure to check your detectors every 6 months, as well, to ensure the batteries are still working. Finally, remember that all units should be completely replaced every 10 years.

Be Careful With Decor

Between pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trimmings in December, fireplaces tend to get adorned with all kinds of festive-looking decor in these last months of the year. We agree that this creates a welcoming and warm aesthetic, but just be sure to remove any flammable items from the mantel or hearth before lighting anything up.

And you’ll want to be certain all embers are completely out before putting things back into place, too!

Along with this, be wary if you like to keep a live tree in your home for Christmas. Keep it watered, and don’t set it too close to your fireplace. Once these trees ignite, flames can spread fast!

Burn Hotter, Shorter Fires

We get the appeal of a slow-burning, smoldering fire, but these aren’t actually good for your fireplace. They encourage more creosote to form, which then increases your likelihood of experiencing deterioration and chimney fires.

In the end, if you burn a quick, hot fire you’ll get a cleaner burn. If you ask us, this makes it well worth having to get up and add logs to fire a bit more often than you may prefer.

Use Only Seasoned Wood

Fireplace Safety Tips - York County ME - Bob Frechette2Unseasoned wood (as well as trash, wrapping paper, cardboard, etc.) all encourage creosote accumulation. The only thing you should be burning in your fireplace is wood that has been dried out for at least 6 months.

Seasoned wood is typically shorter in length, split and dark at the ends, and it should make more of a hollow clunking noise when smacked against another piece (as opposed to a dull thud). Or, if buying wood, you could purchase a moisture meter which is an easy
and affordable way to guarantee you’re getting
well-seasoned wood.

…More Quick Tips!

In the end, there are countless things we could mention that would keep you safer this holiday season. Check out these quick tips, and be sure to stay educated on the best practices for your home and family!

  • Always open your damper before lighting a fire.
  • Educate your children on fire safety tips.
  • Map out an escape plan (and practice it) for if a fire starts in your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • Remove your fireplace ash regularly (but leave a small layer to make lighting future fires easier).
  • Be wary of the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure, such as dizziness, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, etc.
  • Keep an eye on your masonry, and check for possible cracks or damage.

Invest in Care From a CSIA-Certified Tech

Above all, make sure you’re always investing in care for a qualified chimney tech. Hiring a sweep that’s CSIA-certified and committed to furthering their education and staying up-to-date on all the latest developments is a must!

Also, be sure to always invest in necessary repairs before lighting up your system for the season. If this isn’t an option for you right now, then your system shouldn’t be put to use until necessary maintenance can be completed.

Ready to work with the best? Our qualified and experienced sweeps would love to help you with it all! We’re honest, reliable, and we always put your safety and satisfaction first. Give us a call today to book your spot.