The temperatures are dropping, and it’s time to curl up next to the fire! While there are so many benefits to a wood fireplace, it’s important to practice fireplace safety. To keep you and your family safe this winter, make sure to be aware of the following.

Use dry firewood

First of all, you should only be burning wood that is meant for fires—not lumber from crates, for example. It’s recommended to use dense wood like oak, but make sure that it’s dry. Green woods like pine cause more creosote buildup, so avoid those as well. It’s in your best interest to purchase firewood from the store, as you know it’s dry and safe to use.

Get the chimney inspected & cleaned

Before the first fire of the year, you need an expert to inspect the chimney to make sure nothing is broken or full of debris. You should get the chimney cleaned to remove soot or creosote buildup and to clean out any nests that critters might have made.

Keep the flue or damper open

Make sure the flue or damper is open before starting a fire each time. If they’re closed, the smoke will be drawn into the house rather than escaping through the chimney. You can check that the damper is open or closed by shining a flashlight up the fireplace.

Be aware of creosote buildup

Creosote starts out in the form of soot, which should be cleaned out annually before having the first fire of the season. Burning wet wood or not enough air supply can cause creosote to become thick and tar-like, and when it accumulates, it can cause a chimney fire. This is why it’s so important to get your chimney cleaned annually.

Clean out ash

It’s recommended to keep an inch of ash on the floor of the fireplace throughout the season, but you should brush it out if it gets any higher. Always wait a day after the fire is out so that you don’t accidentally touch hot ash.

Practice fire safety

Even after checking that everything is fine with the fireplace or chimney, you still need to practice general fire safety. Don’t leave a fire unattended, and don’t leave children alone in the room. You should have working carbon monoxide and fire detectors, along with a fire extinguisher. In addition, don’t put flammable items too close to the fire, and keep an eye on children to make sure they keep their distance.

We hope you enjoy the crackling sounds and warmth of a wood-burning fire during these next few cold months. Brekke Fireplace Shoppe is the oldest family-owned fireplace store in Minnesota. Contact us today to find your perfect fireplace!