Fireplace Safety During the Holiday Season

holiday decorations

The holiday season is the most festive time of the year for many families. Nothing is more iconic than hanging those stockings on a fireplace and then enjoying time with friends and family as that same fireplace brings warmth to your home. But before the festivities get going make sure you get your annual chimney cleaning and inspection done to keep those loved ones safe. Along with that cleaning and inspection here are a few tips to prevent fires during the holiday season.

Cleaning and Inspection

Though stated out right in the introduction we at Complete Home Concepts truly believe that nothing can help you prevent a hazardous fireplace more than an annual inspection. According to The National Fire Protection Association doing an annual chimney sweep removes multiple hazards including soot build up, creosote and glaze.

Soot is a black flaky and or powdery substance that is created when logs are not completely burned. Primarily consisting of amorphous carbon with small amounts of ash soot becomes extremely dangerous with lesser amounts of ash mixed in due to the highly flammable properties of carbon.  The bigger the soot build up the greater risk of having a chimney fire.

Creosote just like soot can build up in your chimney and create chimney fires. A mixture of smoke and vapor residue from wood that doesn’t burn completely. Leaving behind a hard-flaky deposit in your chimney creosote is highly flammable. As a rule if you see a ¼ inch layer of soot or creosote it is time to call in the professionals for you Chimney Sweep.

Glaze is a shiny, tar-like substance that puddles up in your chimney creating a gooey black mess that is just waiting to cause trouble. While being more difficult to remove from your chimney than soot and creosote it is also a bigger danger. Due to its high density and make up glaze is highly flammable and should be removed at the 1/8 in Mark.

The final benefit of a chimney sweep is one that is much harder to detect as a homeowner because it is hidden somewhere in your 15 to 25ft Chimney just waiting to cause devastation.  A crack in your flue is a nightmare just waiting to happen, not readily visible with out a camera a crack will sit there and wait for your next fire. Once lit the heat from the fireplace will leak out of this crack and start a fire in your house causing irreparable damage and endangering your loved ones.

Other fire prevention tips

  1. Smoke alarms are going to help putting them on every level and checking those batteries regularly to make sure they are working will prevent being caught off guard by a fire.
  2. A carbon dioxide alarm which will alert you if carbon dioxide poison becomes a threat. With carbon dioxide being odorless this is an important precaution on detecting this deadly gas.
  3. Dispose of the ashes with extra care to make sure that an unexpected fire will not start due to hot ashes.
  4. When burning wood choose dry seasoned premium wood in your fireplace and wood stove. But also remember to store it off of the floor in a dry environment to keep away moisture to prevent soot and creosote buildup.

Tips for not setting Santa on fire

  1. Due to the highly combustible wrapping paper place wrapped packages or gift boxes away from the fireplace.
  2. Wrapped paper contains additives which make it burn at extremely high temperatures leading to uncontrollable flames as well as inks that put off toxic fumes.
  3. Number 2 also applies to boxes and other types of garbage dry dense hard woods will create amazing fires that will release more heat and last longer all by itself don’t try burning the toy boxes.
  4. Finally, this is a no brainer, but we have to talk about it because it has happened. Your Christmas tree does not go in the fireplace… This wood is still full of life even though it has been cut down it has not been given time to dry out and will only cause a giant fire hazard.
  5. No matter what keep a Fire extinguisher handy Santa will thank you!

This holiday season enjoy the time with family and friends be safe and remember our tips and if you haven’t done it yet call and get that inspection scheduled Santa wont be the only one thanking you when the only thing on fire is Aunt Sheryl on the Karaoke Machine.